It Doesn’t Matter What We Know, It’s What The Buyer Needs
Companies spend $100’s of millions every year in training sales people about their products and solutions. As sales people, we are proud of our knowledge–naturally eager to demonstrate it to customers. Likewise, people in our company who may support us–developing sales and marketing materials, resources we may leverage to make calls an support our sales efforts—everyone is excited and passionate about the solutions we have and the great value we can bring to our customers.
All of this is meaningless to the customer. The customer doesn’t care about our products and solutions. The customer doesn’t care about our enthusiasm about our products. The last thing the customer cares about is our pitch. As sales people, we have been trained to focus on what the customer is interested in, though tend to ignore that, focusing on what we are interested in.
The customer cares about what they care about–they care about their needs. They worry about how they will do their jobs, how they will meet their goals, how they will support their customers, how they will grow and beat their competition. Over the last few weeks, I’ve written a couple of articles about engaging the customer in different conversations. There’s More To The Discovery Process Than Identifying Needs focused on getting customers to talk about what they care about. Understanding Our Customers’ Decisionmaking Processes took the discovery process to a deeper level, focusing on the processes by which our customers make decisions, and how we can facilitate their buying and decisionmaking processes.
These change our focus. They have us put the customer and everything they worry about, need, and want to achieve at the center of what we do. They cause us to shape our strategies around the customer, changing the context of how we interact with them, how we present our capabilities to them. It seems like a subtle shift, but for most sales people, it can be crossing a chasm (with apologies to Geoffrey Moore). Those that can make that transition, forever change the way they approach the customer, forever change the value they bring to customers, and profoundly improve their success.
Which side of the chasm are you operating on?
(We have recently published an eBook which does a deep dive into Understanding How Our Customers Make Decisions. For a free copy, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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