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Sales relationship mysteriously sours... help!

Hi All,

After 10 years of selling I'm unsure where to go with this so here goes:

Attempting to become an endorsed b2b resource to an association with dozens of facilities in it - not huge, but very targeted to our service. Initial conversations with the well-connected association chairperson were fantastic - first meeting was great. Was told "I was the only one worth talking with"...

All going well over the first few months worth of back-and-forth. My contact even provided a couple of initial member referrals, one of which is now a great, well-cared for client (and I've created a few others outside of this relationship). My contact even presented my services to board members at one of their board meetings... also went well. Then, abruptly, communication stopped. I mean dead. Nothing... nada... zip. My contact won't take my calls, nor return my emails. On one brief conversation (45 seconds or so) via phone I managed to ask if I had fallen out of favor somehow- was told "well we need to talk about that" but was ushered off the phone before we could do so.

I have no reason to believe that anything occurred between my contact and I that would put me out of good standing other than some repeated attempts to contact (one per month or so) or *possibly* an accounting snafu with an important member facility who was a client prior to my contact with the association (completely the book keepers fault, who was fired, but the problem the person created caused an accounting nightmare and me to lose the account).

How to proceed with a contact like this? With nothing to go on, I'm left wondering how to salvage what started out as a great relationship: How often to contact, best way to contact, what to accomplish when I do contact... how to carefully discuss the issue without assuming to much... very challenging situation. Can certainly move on, but great potential exists by rescuing this relationship... buy I may get only one or two more shots.

What say you, Sales Practice community? Any thoughts?? - by Andre0170
Been there--done that.

You can't resolve this issue from the outside looking in. AND--there IS an issue. My guess it's in regard to the previous incident you mentioned.

If you can arrange a meeting with ALL decision makers present, including the person blackballing you, you have a good chance of getting back on track. You MUST listen to what is being said, and demonstrate you are listening. Don't make the mistake of pacifying the objector and focusing elsewhere. Stay with him/her. Show MORE concern for that person's reservations than his/her own concern. Don't let it go. Once you accentuate the issue (not challenge it)--the truth will prevail. That person can become your leading advocate. - by Gary A Boye
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