We are driven to pitch our products and solutions. Our questioning and discovery strategies each have an agenda, we seek answers that enable us to pitch. We have presentations focusing on us, our products, our companies and how great we are. We have closing strategies focused on getting the order.
Somehow, our customers are lost in the process. They don’t feel heard.
What does this mean?
It’s not just about what’s happening in their business—their problems, their opportunities, their challenges.
It’s not just about how they navigate their buying process.
It’s not just about learning how others are addressing similar issues.
It’s not just about the business case, ROI and other financial issues.
It’s not just how much discount they can negotiate.
Change and buying is about so much more. We tend to focus on these issues because these are the easiest issues to deal with. Our customers often, focus on these issues for the very same reason.
But all this doesn’t necessarily address the biggest roadblocks to our customers’ abilities to move forward.
They are worried about other things. They worry if they are doing the right thing. They worry about messing up. This is a dominating factor with each person involved in the change and buying process. It is a factor with those executives that approve it.
Too often, sellers don’t take the time—often they don’t care—because understanding these things takes time. It requires sellers to understand the customer as people, not as titles and company employees.
We talk about the importance of relationships in complex B2B sales. We talk about building trust. But we don’t take the time, we may not know how to.
It’s not that difficult. We have to start with their stories. “People who share their stories feel seen and heard.”*
What if we take the time to understand our customers’ stories?
Afterword: For managers/leaders, have you taken the time to understand your people’s stories. Like customers they want to be seen and heard.
* Quote from “Our Hidden Conversations,” Michelle Norris.