Dana Madlem – The Importance of Relationship in your Sales Process


Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Dana Madlem .

About the interviewee

Dana Madlem is VP of Client Services at Rush Order, a Silicon Valley based provider of ecommerce, logistics, call center, and accounting functions for high tech companies. Previous to Rush Order, Dana led account management and business development teams at Gartner, the world’s largest Information Technology research firm, as well as Gerson Lehrman Group, a strategy consulting firm.

Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).

Rush Order is headquartered in Gilroy, California, with satellite facilities in Poughkeepsie, New York and Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Rush Order is just under 100 employees and growing quickly. We provide ecommerce, logistics, call center, accounting and other outsourced functions for high tech companies. Most of our clients are manufacturers of gadgets and consumer electronics products you would find on the shelves of stores like Best Buy or Target.

Tell us about why it is important for you to establish a relationship with your potential clients.
Like many industries, developing a client’s trust is probably the single biggest factor when deciding to hire and continue working with a firm like Rush Order. We are responsible for safely holding our clients’ inventory and interacting directly with their customers. Our work directly impacts the perception of our client’s brand and the bottom line. Hiring Rush Order for these tasks requires a lot of trust and it’s impossible to build that trust without first establishing a solid relationship.

What do you do to establish relationship with the key players?
What sales techniques have you found as ineffective in developing relationships, which ones work, and why?

We establish relationships by providing value. That builds trust with the
customer. It’s as simple as offering help with little to no expectation
of an immediate return. We continue to develop those relationships
through three principles:

1) Empathy: Understanding our customer’s needs and continuing to
create value as part of the sales process.

2) Drive: Showing that we are committed to delivering on our
promises, and even going above and beyond whenever we can.

3) Authenticity: If we can’t help, we say so. Maybe we try to refer
the (prospective) customer to another source that might be able to help.
We also challenge our customers when we think they are headed down the
wrong path.

When we deliver on these three principles, we’ve seen that customers come
to value us as an ongoing member of their team, not just another vendor.
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