Where Are You In A Relationship's 5 Stages?

Not just for any relationship, but the relationship.

Back in 2014, online dating matchers eHarmony suggested these five linear stages of love;

butterflies, building, assimilation, honesty & stability.

A decade on, and a pair of ladies making their living helping couples through therapy suggest five phases of a romance as they find them;

honeymoon, uncertainty, adjustment, commitment & acceptance.

They also ascribe typical timeframes for these.

The euphoria exists for the first 6 months. Then doubts emerge through to 2yrs in, before deeper issues and long-term planning both take their turn after those first 2yrs, then once 5yrs in you're securely settled.

There's not a great deal of divergence between these two themes. Although a couple of the differing nuances are intriguing.

A business relationship is not the same as our main personal, intimate one.

Yet - especially with account management - knowing that we as creatures appear hard-coded to travel through these could well be used to our advantage.

Why not flag them up during a bid? Even a brand new one.

After a 'deal' once reached in my early career, the other party heralded the post-sale phase with these words;

"now that we've exchanged rings at the altar..."

Imagine you can tie-in specific yardsticks, results and legacy to each of the five stages above.

How can you set expectations for what each phase will bring?

Can you do this in a way that uniquely sees the prospect lean towards how you do so?

For instance, Stage One entails the delivery. With all the excitement a 'handover' from Sales to Implementation usually builds.

Then you'll be looking for early results. Outputs that are significant. What will you do to ensure these flow forth as hoped? By the very act of stating them you begin to mitigate against outside forces putting spanners in your works. This Stage Two also paves the way for the most effective method anyone involved that is required to can dovetail as neatly together as possible around your product/service in the new manner of Stage Three which best produces the improvement desired.

Then Stage Four must ensure the project sails serenely, keeping on track. Before a Stage Five of embedded operational smoothness and acknowledged financial dividends.

You might not even need to formally announce this as a framework. Merely talking about it may uncover more about what the potential buyer is really looking for in their future supplier and project goals.

Not every deal and the personalities contained within may lend themselves to such a lens. Yet when one does, it could well make all the difference and crucially distinguish you from competing alternatives.

Subscribe to Salespodder

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.