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Everything Counts, The Customer Is Always Evaluating Us

by David Brock on May 30th, 2012

Several days ago, I wrote an article, Duz Speling nd Gramer Matr?  It provoked a lot of comments (and some justly deserved grammatical checks).  Jeb Blount made a great comment at Sales Gravy.  I thought I’d expand on it.

Customers are always evaluating sales people—they are checking to see it they perform, if their words match their actions, are they people they should to business with, what separates them from all others.  Consequently, everything we do counts–there are no mulligans or do overs.

Consciously or unconsciously, everything we do either builds the perception customers have of us or diminishes it.  We can have the strongest solution offering and the possibility of creating great value for the customer, but one little action, error, or misunderstanding can overwhelm everything we do.

We’re late to a meeting, apologizing and making an excuse about traffic.  But we’re always late and always making excuses.

We focus on the customer, say that we are customer driven until the end of the month or quarter when we need the order to make our numbers.

We want to engage the customer, determine their needs, create great insights—only until we understand what product we need to pitch, then relentlessly pitch features and functions.

We are sloppy in the way we present ourselves and our solutions—even though they may be great ideas, they are presented unprofessionally.

We’re too busy to plan for a meeting, deciding we can “shoot from the lip,” then use the time poorly.

We don’t listen closely to the customer, probing, examining, testing ideas; instead we listen for cues to start pitching our product.

We talk about trust, then present a complex contract that focus on our interests alone.

We talk about customer focus, yet our customer service is unvailable and unresponsive.

We don’t practice what we preach.

We are sloppy in our communications, ignoring spelling and grammar, claiming insight, innovation and creativity.

We mistake speed for effectiveness.

As Jeb states in his comment, “Buyers are not looking for what you do right, they are looking for what you do wrong.”  Buyers are not necessarily looking to trust us, but they are looking for the things that betray that trust.  A careless comment, a failure to meet a commitment–however small, sloppiness in performance.  All these things betray the trust we want to build.  All these things diminish us.

We worry about the competition and beating the competition, yet we ignore our own performance and the example we set for our customers.

Our customers are always evaluating us.  They look at everything we do as evidence of our performance.  They expect us to do things right, so they don’t pay attention to it, but they are constantly looking for what we do wrong, assessing whether these actions foreshadow the whole relationship.

Everything counts, no matter how seeming small.  Are you paying attention to what you are doing, are you making excuses, are you presenting a consistent professional image?

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