Building Partnerships for the Future: How to Develop Lasting Sales Relationships


Throughout my career, I have had plenty of occasions to meet customers and discuss products, solutions, integration and more. Recently, the opportunity arose to meet with some of VingCard Elsafe’s newest customers and more specifically ask them about the main drivers that persuaded them to choose our solutions.

Having worked in finance, operations and management positions, I found that what motivated most customers were similar reasons to those I used in selecting past vendors.

What are prospects really looking for?

Of course, all potential buyers are looking for quality and reliability of products, however the sales decision does not stop there. Today’s consumer is looking for a products capacity to integrate with other applications, for ability to offer complete and comprehensive packaged solutions, and for a supplier to provide them with a true value added solution – all with competitive financial offers.

In hospitality, it is becoming more and more obvious that one of the main decision drivers goes beyond product. The feeling a customer has that they are not only dealing with a recognized and reliable supplier holding an outstanding reputation, but that the person they’re facing is the representative of a company which will be a real and trustworthy long term partner for their hotel, speaks volumes into the decision making process.

For me, building a partnership means:

  • Listening and trying to understand the needs and expectations of a prospect,
  • Promoting solutions in a humble and clever way without imposing them to the partner and demonstrating the capacity to adapt solutions to any potential future customer requirements,
  • Thinking long term relationships with prospects and customers,
  • Having in mind that the discussed project/deal is not necessarily a one shot business but can also be part of establishing/nurturing/revitalizing a relationship with a customer and/or with a group of company,
  • Also thinking that any deal has to be a win-win experience for both parties.

The importance of sales and technical support

When speaking with one of our new customers, he expressed to me the fear he had during the negotiation phase with a competitor’s representative. They treated him like a large commercial company and did not portray confidence that made promises and commitments will truly being backed-up by established technical and service resources. Oppositely, with our sales and technical representatives, this customer felt much more listened to and confident to face people belonging to an organization able to support his operational needs and specifications.

This highlights how the contribution of sales support and technical forces is crucial during the sales process. Proper support makes a proposal relevant to the prospect’s expectations and convinces them of a company’s willingness to become a real long-term partner, in addition to being successful in developing their business.

Remember, when calling on prospects companies are building partnerships for the future, not just selling a one-time solution. Relationships built during the sales process will either propel one’s future or stall it altogether.
Christian Hénon
President EMEA & India at VingCard Elsafe