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People Do Business with People (Not Accounts)

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by Mark Smith

over 2 years ago

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Account management is a key idea in sales. Even the systems that most salespeople use are built on the premise of account management. I understand the principles around account management and have sat through endless courses, both formal and informal, on how to win and keep business using account management strategies. Much of this learning has been very useful and has helped people2people (and me personally) build a successful business... but what I always find lacking is the idea that people do business with people. In the business to business service sector, which is where the recruitment industry squarely fits, business is fundamentally initiated by one person initiating contact with another person. Even in the broader sense, all business is a transaction. 

But before that transaction can take place, one or more people initiate, discuss and negotiate.

  People Do Business with People (Not Accounts)

So why am I even discussing what appears to be the very obvious? Well, it's because the buying decision is made by a person, and a person has all the faults and brilliance of being a human being. This means that when you are trying to win business or transacting business, you must always keep in mind that you are dealing with a human being. People are very much driven by emotion. 

They have passions and prejudices. Human beings can be irrational! So if you are in a sales role, consultancy or professional services and you are given an account to work with, please consider this. Make sure your actions and behaviours take into account the fact that you are dealing with individuals, who happen to work for the same company. 

For example, if you are allocated the Westpac account, which has 25,000 employees, your client is not everyone who works at Westpac. Your clients are the individuals with whom you start and build a relationship within Westpac. Westpac is not your client; Josephine Citizen from Westpac is your client. So even when your business gets big, or you are working with some of the biggest companies you know, make sure you build individual human relationships first. Then consider your account management . People do business with people. (I wonder how we came up with the name for our business? Any clues?!)

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