Imagine You go out on a sales call. You present your abilities, your company story and the value-added services you provide. The package excites your prospect to buy from you - and sooner rather than later. You consummate the sale and let the love-fest begin in the midst of the excitement.

Some time goes by with your not-so-new client and you notice that love-fest is cooling. Your client, and perhaps you, start to backslide away from what created the sale and initial excitement in the first place. More time goes by, and eventually you and your client slip into old, uninspiring ways of doing business, like so many sellers who don't get the new way of selling benefits. You are now just like them.

It doesn't have to be this way. You can maintain that initial excitement with all of your clients by subtly but steadily creating a unique customer culture between you and your buyer.

Culture is behaviors. Behaviors are the product of your morals, values, cognitions, attitudes and emotions. Change behaviors and you change culture. It's that simple. Difficult to accomplish, but periodically absolutely necessary.

Now is the perfect time to create or change a customer culture.

Customer culture equals behaviors that you and a buyer demonstrate in one another's presence. What are those behaviors? A diagnosis of selling behaviors says a lot about your prognosis in the craft.

Changing customer culture means changing how your buyer relates to you. Some buyers can be less than cordial and pleasant to you, to put it mildly. I am parsing my words here carefully. Why is this true? Is it possible that your behaviors with your buyer create an atmosphere where the buyer feels that he or she can push you around and treat you poorly, not like the professional that you are, or want to be?


Create the environment you want

Change your behaviors and watch how your buyer's behaviors change toward you.

Here are a few behaviors you can show that will elicit positive reciprocity from your buyer:

* Do not be a patsy. Amp up your professionalism and project an image that says you deal with buyers who treat you in kind.

* Do not be arrogant. Arrogance begets arrogance from your buyer.

* Do not be acerbic. Your buyer will likely be caustic in return.

* Be meek and inquisitive. Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is calm, assertive strength.

* Do not return a bad behavior of your buyer. Be positive, calm and assertive.

Get the picture? You change behaviors and you change behaviors in your buyer.

You are in the process of creating a customer culture that will make life easier for you and more upbeat for your buyer. All of that translates into a positive - and hopefully long-term - relationship.

Do this with all of your clients and your professional life will be easier, more fun and significantly more professional. Culture is a powerful force, and one that you can use to your advantage.

Davidson, CEBS, is founder of websites and mysales He is on the faculty at the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Reach him at

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