Keith Kefgen- Why are relationships important in sales?


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

About the interviewee

Keith Kefgen, Managing Director & CEO, AETHOS Consulting Group

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

Consulting firm specializing in the hospitality industry. We have 7 partners, 10 employees, located in five offices around the world.

What type and size of companies do you have as clients?

We work with the large hotel, restaurant and gaming companies. We also work closely with private equity groups that invest in the hospitality sector.

What comes to mind when you see this topic?

That most people don’t understand what sales is all about. They think about the used car salesman and the notion that sales is getting someone to buy something they don’t need. In actuality, sales is about finding common ground, where both sides can find a win. I have found that the best sales people don’t have to make cold calls anymore. They build a network that keeps working for them, even while they are sleeping. Relationships are the bedrock of any successful business. I encourage our people to network and not “sell”.

What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?

Networking is the key. You must find ways to be an active participant in your community. It is just a matter of effort. My strategies include:
Joining associations and get on the board
Using religious affiliation to network
Joining clubs, there is a club for just about anything
Inviting prospect customers to events, outings and activities like golf
Taking on a customer’s worst headache, solve their worst problem and they will be a customer for life
Finding out what people read and share books and ideas with them
Using political affiliations to network and campaign with a prospect
Having my successful customers invite prospects to an event, let your customers do the talking for you
Help a customer with a personal problem or challenge, that is the way you create real friendships.

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