“Sales is all about people!” It’s been one of those throw away terms all of us have heard about selling since the very first day we started selling.
In the old days, a lot of this was interpreted as “relationship sales,” and implemented as social interactions like taking them to lunch, the golf course, telling jokes, making sure you sent their kids birthday cards.
Customers saw through this pretty quickly. While they may have taken the sales person up for the lunch of the golf game, these sales people weren’t being helpful to the customer in solving their problems.
Fast forward to more modern times and the advent of things like “SaaS selling.” We’ve almost lost sight of the customer as an individual. They have become a widget that we move through our process—which is engineered to maximize our efficiency–not the customer buying experience. And we, sales, are so focused on volume, that we forget that we are dealing with Human Beings.
Or even in complex B2B sales, we tend to focus on the buying group, which is a collection of individuals, but we focus on the shared interest of the buying group, losing the individual.
Now, more than ever before, customers — the individual — are uncomfortable. Pre pandemic, they were in overwhelm, overload, rapid disruption, change, complexity, uncertainty and increasing risk.
Now, as we move through the pandemic, economic restructuring, social change, our customers face all these issues but they are now magnified several times. Then overlay this with everyone in a WFH mode.
What we forget is the impact of all of these on our customers–as individuals. We have to be driven by “How they feel!”
It sounds trite, we tend to make decisions with our hearts/instincts then justify them based on our brains and intellect. We will be less successful, our customers will be less successful until we begin to understand and address for how our customers feel.
More than ever before, our customers, at all levels, face things they have never experienced before. They are uncomfortable, uncertain, and may be afraid. And it’s those feelings that may stand in the way of their wanting to take action and change–even if they must.
Focusing on just the business rationale, focusing on the group consensus, focusing on “just the facts,” does nothing to address how they feel. It stands in the way of their decision confidence. It’s not their confidence in the solution or our ability to deliver on our promises. It’s their own confidence in what they are doing, in the decision they are making.
Until we begin to understand how the customer feels about what they face, the choices/alternatives they have, and what the want to achieve; we aren’t addressing the things that may stand in the way of their confidence in moving forward.
Do you understand how your customers feel about their current circumstance? Do you understand how your customers feel about the choices they are making?
Afterword: Thanks to a great discussion between Collen Stanley and Brent Adamson for this idea!
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