Most people recognize the “art” of selling. By “art” I mean…building rapport, establishing personal relationships, building trust, etc.

While the “art” is very important the science of selling is equally important. By science I mean establishing individual success formulas, setting activity level goals, executing a repeatable sales process, etc.

So here are a couple of quick, sales productivity thoughts as we wrap up 2014:

1. The simpler the sale (e.g., transaction-based sale) the more likely the buying decision will be made on price.

2. The more complex the sale (e.g., enterprise-wide sale) the more likely the buying decision will be made on bottom line impact.

If you are a sales professional that agrees with the previous two thoughts it is important that you become a trusted advisor to your customer or better yet a strategic business partner with your customer as opposed to a vendor (price-based seller), a features/benefits seller reacting to your customers request or even a consultative seller focusing on process or process improvement exclusively!

So what are some keys to becoming viewed as a strategic business partner? Here are nine proven ways salespeople can be viewed as a strategic business partner:

1. Do what you said you would do

2. Be on time/Be prepared

3. Listen more than you talk by asking situational and/or behavioral questions

4. Focus on what your customer needs versus what you’re selling

5. Match your solutions (products/services) to your customers needs

6. Demonstrate professional/timely follow-up/follow-through

7. Always have your customers best interests in mind

8. Share best practices/new ideas with your customers

9. Document the impact you have had on your customers business

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