Attention Sales World... Are You Building Sustainable Relationships Or Building A Slew Of Transactions?

larry levine Mar 27, 2023
"Approaching people looking for something in return isn't a relationship, it's a transaction."
Mark Manson

When you view sales with a transactional mindset, don’t expect to receive what you give, expect to receive what you get, a transactional relationship.

You can have a slew of transactions or a slew of meaningful client relationships, but you can't have both.

Building relationships is complex in and of itself. It's a balance of giving and receiving. In personal relationships, we give love. We commit. We sacrifice ourselves. We invest time. We bare our emotions. We strive. And we hope to receive the same in return.

What prevents all of you in sales from doing the same with your clients? We know how important your client relationships are to you, so what are you willing to do about it?

Are you creating transactional customers or transformational clients?

Take a moment, now deeply think about what was just said... now think about your interactions and how you're building these so-called relationships.

Are the conversations you're having and how you're carrying yourself transactional in nature? If so, I am here to inform you, you will be become replaceable.

Just keeping it real. This is a tough pill to swallow but transactional selling is 100% replaceable by another salesperson who comes along with a better transactional conversation.

You are a transactional seller when….

  • All you are concerned with and care about is the business at hand.
  • You stay hyper-focused on finalizing the sale that you forget there is another human on the other side.
  • You fail to be fully aware and present as to the potential in the relationship. This means a true understanding of the goals, needs, gaps, values, fears and potential risk of your clients or future clients.
  • You value the transaction over the relationship
  • You prioritize and think about your own needs over others

It is monumentally difficult to build relational strength with your clients with a transactional mindset. These so-called relationships are unfulfilling, lack any real strength and lack sustainability. They lack real strength because they lack any kind of real depth.

Here lies the dilemma, as sales in general, has been deeply rooted in transactions, with many taking the Jerry Maguire approach of “Show me the money!”

In other words, I give you the goods and you give me your money. Simply stated, nothing more, nothing less.

I believe salespeople and management who are focused solely on getting their 'customers' money in exchange of goods are entering into treacherous territory.

Hear me out... This territory is 100% replaceable, not sustainable and commission breathe driven.

"Everybody is replaceable. But it’s not about being replaced it’s about how hard it is to replace you."
Niccolina Andre Vignaroli

It's concerning, in today’s society and business climate, we tend to have shallow, superficial relationships; as we have lulled ourselves into thinking they are much more than they really are.

It’s extremely hard for this kind of relationship to provide anything more than faint satisfaction and short-term results.


Transforming your client relationships... It's about truly serving them, going above and beyond their wildest expectations, constantly looking out for the best interests, all while providing them with the greatest results, and this would business betterment.

To further reinforce, I will refer to Dan Sullivan who is with Strategic Coach. He goes on to say, "Savvy entrepreneurs focus on transformation."

Let's apply Dan's quote to the sales world and twist it up...

Astute sales professionals focus on client transformation.

I believe client transformation comes with peace of mind, a sense of accomplishment and more importantly, a sense of purpose.

Transactional sales mindsets struggle with the following...

  • Truly knowing something about their clients as a person, a human
  • Knowing about their values and trusting their good intentions
  • Understanding their priorities and challenges
  • A regular and consistent cadence of communication, even if there is no “urgent” topic to discuss (like trying to sell them something)
  • Intentional curiosity and a sincere interest in their well-being
  • High trust and deep commitment to each other’s success

Allow this quote to sink in for a moment, courtesy of Janet S. Dickens

“The wings of transformation are born of patience and struggle.” 

With trust and credibility constantly being placed under a microscope, it's vitally important for all salespeople, sales managers and sales leaders to develop relational patience.


Remember, the relationships you developed with your clients didn't happen overnight, and they will not change overnight. However, a minor shift in your mindset and actions will lead to huge changes over time.

Many of you are familiar with the famous saying "Patience is a virtue".

What does it mean to be virtuous? Or to be patient? And how can this be applied to sales?

According to Strong’s Concordance, the word "virtue" in Greek means to be of moral excellence or goodness. Being virtuous is producing goodness from the Fruits of the Spirit. Being patient is also a part of the Fruits of the Spirit. So, how many times a day do we produce these fruits? How many times a day do you produce these fruits for your clients?

Let's focus in on a passage from Galatians 6:9: - “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

How can you do good for your clients, look after them and thus reap the rewards when many of you operate with a transactional, "all about me" mindset?

Patience... The one word in sales many struggle to comprehend.

You must develop patient and purposeful conversations to effectively build meaningful and transformational relationships.

Here lies the struggle for many of you as technological advances and all the tools that come with it, continually present you with numerous ways of doing unimaginable things faster and more efficiently.

Despite how efficient this may make you; it seems to have led to unrealistic expectations in client relationships.

Solid relationships are built between solid individuals. To bring the best version of ourselves to these relationships means sometimes we may need to work on ourselves first.

Patience builds character.

I believe conversations build relationships, relationships build businesses and therefore, you never know when one transformational conversation will lead to exponential revenue growth.

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How many of you are running around right now trying to find the next "deal"?

If so, and thank you for your honesty, I am going to ask you to think about how sustainable this is and all the mental punishment you're putting yourself through.

This mindset reduces your relationships to nothing more than a one-sided extraction of so-called value.

This transactional approach based on pitch and pounce has tarnished the profession.

Unfortunately, the race to the bottom is occurring at rapid rates within many sales channels. Undercutting and monumental discounts is not a long-term business strategy. This approach is not sustainable and puts your client relationships at risk.

What are you willing to do to mitigate these risks?

Transactional relationships are expensive and not sustainable.

These transactional conversations may lead to short-term growth but long-term failures... All at the expense of your clients.

How likely will your customers become clients and come back for more and more and more if you continue to deliver a transactional type of experience?

In my heart, I sincerely believe you are missing out on a ginormous opportunity to become a part of your clients’ lives, by operating with a transactional mindset.

Transactional conversations alienate, transformational conversations build client communities.

What will you choose?


Authentic transformation happens outside your comfort zone.

I believe we need some transactional-type conversations in our daily sales lives, however; there are plenty of opportunities to move those conversations to transformational.

It's about quality over quantity! I believe deep meaningful transformational conversations are more powerful, effective and sustainable than transactional ones.

"I think for any relationship to be successful, there needs to be loving communication, appreciation, and understanding."
Miranda Kerr

Think about the above quote... How can you develop loving communication, appreciation and understanding with a transactional mindset? Simple, you can't.

How much untapped revenue potential are you leaving on the table by operating with a transactional mindset?

Imagine for a moment... What would happen if you captured 1-2% additional market share inside your client base? What would that equate to in dollars? What would that do to your budget numbers? How would this make you feel?

I believe sales professionals with a transformational mindset:

  • Do not seek out predetermined outcomes
  • They ask powerful questions
  • They listen deeply
  • They acknowledge and are supportive
  • They simply give a rip

To experience this, you must be willing to open your heart, share your wisdom, and your purpose.

You must be willing to give to receive.

Yes, a transactional mindset will yield you short-term satisfaction, however; a transformational mindset becomes part of your foundation. It encompasses the being of who you are and how you see the world.

This transformational approach is where you explore...

  • Dreams
  • Fears
  • Doubts
  • Possibilities
  • Aspirations
  • Vision
  • Goals

This is next level thinking and will catapult your sales career.

Transformational experiences create transformational relationships.

This is the crux of Selling from the Heart and why soft skills will yield you hard dollars!

I will leave you all with this... Transactions are replaceable, transformation is irreplaceable.

The choice is yours.

Originally published on Larry Levine's LinkedIn.

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