I have to admit I’ve struggled a little with this notion — how did we become irrelevant? In a conversation with a great sales executive this morning, it all became crystal clear: We become irrelevant to our customers when we stop focusing on their business and their needs. We are irrelevant when we spend our time pitching our products, not talking about growing their businesses.
The job of the sales professional is to help their clients improve their businesses, whether it is helping them become more efficient through reducing costs and improving productivity; or helping them grow their revenues by providing them new capabilities or addressing new opportunities. Our job is to demonstrate how our offerings help them.
This is not new, it has always been a core element of developing, communicating, and delivering value—but prior to the downturn, both we and our customers may been lulled into a complacency where value was presumed, not proven. If anything, one of the greatest lessons we can learn from the crises created by the economy is not to be lulled into a false sense of security. Everything we do with our customers must create value–each meeting and every solution. If we cannot create value, we waste both their time and resources.
What customers value changes over time. If we do not keep in step with our customers, then we become irrelevant. Keeping in step means continually improving our products and services. It means continual attention to the conversations we have with customers–focusing on their needs and priorities today and those they may have tomorrow.
Value is dynamic, not static. Companies and sales people that don’t help in moving their customers forward are holding their customers back.
It’s a big question, what are your thoughts? How do we stay relevant to our customers?