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Do Your Customers See You As An Interruption Or Value Creator?

by David Brock on April 2nd, 2012

We struggle to get customers to see us.  There are hundreds of blog post, articles, training programs, and other sources that offer ideas in getting customers to respond to our emails or calls.  Hundreds on getting meetings with customers.  They range from sound advice, to various “time tested techniques,” to trickery and manipulation, to “miracle cures.”

It seems customers have an equal number of techniques to avoid meeting with us.  They just don’t respond, they put up barriers, they create gate keepers, they make it difficult to identify who in the organization we should be talking to.

We wonder, “Why do they do everything they can to avoid us?”  After all, we have wonderful things to talk about!  We have all sorts of great products they have to be interested in.  We’ve got lots of stuff to “help them.”

Or we want to meet to help them.  If they’d just sit down to tell us their priorities—we’re interested if they involve us.  We want to understand their need, probe their pain.  We want to learn what it takes to earn their business.  We just know our solutions can help them, if they’d only take the time to meet with us.

But the problem is, customers seldom see it the same way we do-which shouldn’t be a shock to anyone.  Too often, we’re an interruption.  We divert them from the stuff they need to get done today.  We spend all our time talking about ourselves, our products, our companies.

Worst, we waste their time.  We aren’t prepared, we don’t understand their business.  Only 13% of customers believe sales people really understand their businesses.

So we become an interruption.

But then there are those few sale people who are different. The one’s that customers call and ask to visit.  They’re the one’s that help the customer see their businesses differently.  They help the customer understand new opportunities to grow their businesses.  They have insight and opinions that are meaningful to their customers.  They understand their customers’ businesses–their markets, their customers’ customers.  They are focused on results–not theirs, but those the customers will achieve.

They can talk about solutions without obsessing about products.  They know the products are just a vehicle for the customer to achieve results.

These sales people don’t have trouble getting the customer to meet with them.  They have no need for tricks or manipulation to see the customer.  They don’t waste their time or the customers’.  They focus only on opportunities where they can make a difference for the customer.

These are the value creators.

Which are you?

Do you know what it takes to be a value creator?  If not, ask me!

  1. Excellent read and how very true!

  2. @David, thanks for turning over this rock; the soil beneath badly needs air ;^). I think the issue that underlies the interrupt v. listen/add value issue is the fundamental question of alignment between provider and prospect. In most cases, salespeople put their agenda ahead of the client’s. They need to make this quarter’s numbers. Smart firms and salespeople can create alignment by attacking the root cause in two ways: 1) diligencing market and prospect needs that drive the need for product/service and force rank prospects. This is harder than appears because markets are so dynamic, but it’s key to salespeople’s understanding of value proposition. 2) trust the prospect/client to know what is best for him/her/firm. There is no need to put salesperson’s agenda ahead of prospect when former trusts latter and communicates openly. Doing these two things can change the sales/prospect relationship at the root.

    • Christopher, great insights! Too often, we are “interrupters,” because we are calling on the wrong customers, trying to sell something they don’t need. Identifying and having the discipline to focus on those customers where we can create value has the greatest impact on them and on the results we produce.

      Thanks for the great comment!

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