Consider a dating analogy. How many stories have you heard of men who invested a lot of creativity and energy into captivating a beautiful woman in order to win one date with her? Those stories are fairly common, aren’t they? And so are sales appointments. But if you asked the guy pursuing the woman if he thought he’d reached his goal by landing one date with her, he’d probably be quick to correct you. Getting her to say yes to a date is just the first step—albeit an important one—if the goal is long-term relationship.
Beyond that first date, additional steps must be taken to grow the relationship, steps that will ultimately determine whether the two will get married one day. Furthermore, once the two are married, that’s only the beginning. Beyond marriage vows the couple must decide what is necessary to ensure the continued success of the marriage. And in the end, the man who wins the woman’s heart for good—and vice versa—is the one whose actions have consistently fostered the trust that was established on those first few dates.
Relationships that are fruitful and enduring are not comprised of parties committed to only perseverance. If that were true the national divorce rate wouldn’t be nearly 60 percent. The most productive relationships are comprised of parties committed to consistently adding value where value is most needed. Think of it this way: a girl doesn’t stay with a guy because she’s overwhelmed by his persistence; she ultimately stays with him because of the value he adds to her life, and the value she adds to his. This same dynamic is no less apparent in business relationships.
The process of dating, marrying and remaining married is the process of mutually adding value to each other for the long haul. If you remember this in your business relationships, you will become more patient in reaping the benefits from a customer and much less likely to accept anyone into your fold of clientele.
There are several creative tricks to getting a sales relationship started—many of which are borderline deceptive—but when it comes to keeping a sales relationship going strong, there are no substitutions for a consistent, value-adding strategy whereby the customer comes to know that she is more important to you that her money. This kind of customer will be glad to remain by your side.
Incubation is the process by which you consistently add value to a client for as long as you do business together, knowing that over time this will ensure the relationship matures to fruition.