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You Have To Care To Differentiate Your Value

by David Brock on February 8th, 2012

The rise of “Big Data,” rich analytics and other capabilities enables sales and marketing professionals to engage the customer in very different ways.  They also provide tools to provide more data driven insight in our deals and proposals to customers.  Having  business justified solutions is important to creating value to customers.

But I worry the pendulum is swinging too far to the analytics and data side.  Sales is not “just about the facts.”  Our customers have fears, uncertainties, concerns.  Our customers are people and history tells us too many decisions are made for emotional reasons, later supported by the data.

As sales professionals, we both fail to serve our customers and we lose opportunity by not addressing the “total decision making process.”  We have to address both the data and facts, we have to address the emotions and fears.

Too often, sales people fail to do this.  Part of it is we’re trained not to look at the emotional side.  All our work on value propositions, all the current literature, even what our customers tell us steer us to presenting facts, data, and analysis.  We’re uncomfortable about talking, questioning, and probing the emotional and personal side of what the customer is concerned about.

I think there’s another element to this.  The really great sales people I meet really care–it comes through loud and clear in every communication with the customer.  Success to them is not just another order.  It’s not just helping the customer achieve their numbers.  Great sales people care for their customers–as enterprises, but more importantly as people.  They want to see their customers succeed.  They are driven by genuine interest in their customers.

Customers “get it,” and respond.  Customers aren’t looking for just a transaction–even if it is just a transaction.

Sales is about people doing business with people.  We can’t lose sight of this.

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7 Comments
  1. David,

    Once again your comments are right on! Caring and passion are irreplaceable in sales professionals. Without it, they become nothing more than a living breathing website! You have to care for your prospects to care! Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    Bruce

  2. I agree with you 100%, but sadly many companies do not. I’m between jobs right now because a prior employer was more interested in ‘churn and burn’ philosophies than actually giving a damn about what our customer’s needs or wants were.

    I was told I was ‘seeing too many customers’ and that speaking with non-decision makers at existing customer sites was wasting my time. (My role was both as a farmer as well as a hunter).

    My customers liked me, more importantly I liked them and was interested in their success. I had a lot of repeat business and upselling opportunities as a result, and I was often the first person they would call, even though they knew my company didn’t provide the product/service they needed. They knew I’d find it for them.

    To me that was huge – building a long term relationship. I have spoken to many other reps in different industries and many have the same experience at their present employers – ‘we want sales NOW, we don’t give a rats ass about future opportunities’. I precict that you’ll see many of those companies acquired, downsized, or plain out of business when they burn through all their existing customers.

    • “Chad:” First, given our earlier emails, I’m so delighted to seeing your participation here at the blog. Thanks for joining the discussion. I think you raise an important point, there are too many sales managers that are being very short sighted focusing on orders today. Managers have to build strategies and execution around both meeting today’s goals and positioning the company for sustained growth. It’s a tough balancing act—we clearly have to make our current objectives, but we also have to position ourselves for the long term. Focusing on one or the other doesn’t make it.

      It’s interesting, when you look at top performing companies–and there is a lot of data around this–they are able to constantly maintain that balance. They look to build long term relationships and focus on lifetime value (profitability) of customers, not just what they can extract today. Customers want this too–they want to build relationships with vendors that are there to support them for the long term, not just those that want to get a deal done.

      I empathize with you—it’s difficult being a sales person and convincing your manager to have a more balanced approach. Hopefully, they are looking at other organizations and what top performing sales teams do, hopefully they are learning from them. I actually think that “caring about your customer,” drives more–profitable deals in the short term as well.

      I really appreciate you joining us and look forward to your comments in the future!

  3. Really agree with your post David.
    If you’ll allow me to quote Zig Ziglar.
    “They do not care how much you know till they know how much you care.”

  4. Very appropriate, thanks Greg!

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