Selling and Exclusivity

Yesterday, Rick Roberge threw out a question about exclusivity.

Here are my thoughts on the subject:

In a lot of the companies I’ve helped, their goal is to become the exclusive provider of their particular product. In this case, exclusivity means, “we trust you”, “we put all of our faith in you”, “you’ll be the only company providing x to us”, and most importantly to both parties, “we’re partners in this”. It also means that for a period of time, their margins are protected along with a guarantee of a certain level of revenue. That’s a good thing!

In another example, as a provider of assessments, Objective Management Group contractually does not allow its resellers to sell competitive assessments (sales specific) but allows them to sell non-competitive assessments (personality or behavioral style), Another good thing!

Personally, I’m a very loyal guy so conceptually, I have an exclusive relationship with every store, vendor and supplier I do business with. It’s not mutually exclusive – they can sell to others – but I only buy from them. Unless they mess up so bad that I can’t anymore, at which time I develop another exclusive relationship. I even extend my exclusivity to restaurants but in a very different way. We dine at many restaurants (non exclusive) but I have exclusive dishes from each one. Locally, it’s Chicken Parm at Arturo’s, Chicken Marsala at Ziti’s, Latin Ribs at Naked Fish, Crispy Honey Chicken Salad at Uno’s, the Special at Outback, the Calamari at Romaine’s, the Bolognaise at Bertucci’s, the Hickory Chicken Sandwich at Ruby Tuesday’s, etc. When we go into a new restaurant, I’ll order something different until I find what they do that I like the best and stick with it. I do this because it eliminates one additional thing, in an overly busy life, that I don’t have to think about.

I take the same approach to selling and sales development. No options, no choices, there is always one ideal, needs and cost appropriate solution. It eliminates the thinking it over.

And when it comes to giving out referrals, guess what? I’m the same. I don’t say here are three accountants you can call, just one. Same one all the time. No exceptions. Do I know more than one? Certainly. Will I mention them? Never. Less to think about for me and the person getting the reference.

It might not work the same way for you as it does for me, but I’m all for exclusivity. Simplification, predictability, efficiency, better relationships, peace of mind.