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It’s Not Your Customer’s Responsibility To Do Your Job!

by David Brock on January 24th, 2009
Yes, this is another post about what professional sales is all about.

It seems too many of us just spend our time talking about how fantastic our products/services are; how much superior we are to the competition; how the customer cannot afford not to buy our products and services. We focus our time on presenting FAB’s: Features, Advantages, Benefits. We spend most of our time on the pitch and too little time understanding what the customer is trying to achieve.

Yet later, mostly when we lose the deal, often when our customers raise objections, we can’t understand why they just don’t get it! We wonder why customers don’t buy! We wonder why they won’t take the time to meet with us! We wonder why they aren’t as excited about our latest and greatest as we are!

The problem is, we are asking our customers to do our jobs. It should be no surprise, they are busy enough doing their jobs, they don’t have the time to do ours. And they never should!

When all we do is talk and pitch, when all we do is drop off brochures to our customers, when all we do is talk about how fantastic we are, we are not helping our customers solve their business problems. Even if the customer has a need and desire, we are not demonstrating our value in ways meaningful to them — so by default, the customer has to do the job for us.

We pitch our products, but the customer is left to figure out what it really means for them. They have to determine whether it solves their problems and improves their business. They often have to do the business justification. That’s our job!

The sales professional must be a Business Professional (Thanks Dave Stein!)! As a business professional, it is our responsibility to understand our customers’ industries, their markets, their competition, their business goals – priorities – strategies, their problems and opportunities, their financial requirements and hurdles.

Once we understand our customers from a business perspective, we can present our products/services as solutions for their businesses. We demonstrate how it will impact their business, what it means in helping achieve their goals and how they justify the investment to management. Now, we are not only doing our job, but we are creating value by helping our customers with their jobs.

There are a lot of overused words in professional sales, but they still have meaning if we execute on them. Moving from Sales Professionals to becoming Business Professionals is critical. True solutions and consultative selling works. Creating value in every interchange works. They’re not new ideas, but the reason we keep talking about them is the majority of sales people don’t execute them.

Our customers’ have more work than they can handle. Let’s not burden them with doing our work for us.

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