I read a post from Miller Heiman on “How Do You Know If You Are Wasting Time With Propects.” It’s a good article encouraging focus on your “sweet spot.” You should read it.
However, as I reflected on the article, it struck me that perhaps this is too confining. It continues to be “me, the sales person, centric.” It focuses on not wasting “my time,” but doesn’t address the issue of “are we wasting the customer or prospect’s time?” If we pose the issue differently, would we set the stage for producing a different and much more positive result?
What is we focused on answering the question “Is this meeting a good use of the customer’s time?” Focusing on answering that question, puts the meeting in an entirely different light. It requires us to do all the things suggested in referenced article. We would not consider calling on a customer that was not in our “sweet spot,” because we can’t offer them a competitive solution and would be wasting both their and our time.
But posing that question requires us to go further. It requires us to plan a high impact call or meeting—focusing on issues critical to them–leading a meeting that is a good use of their time. It requires us to think about how we create value for them. It requires us to think about their key issues, trying to understand what keeps them up at night, their own goals and objectives and what they are trying to achieve. It requires us to think about how we can help them achieve those goals and how we communicate that in terms meaningful to them.
Everyone is time poor. A customer’s time is as precious to them as our own time is to us. If we shift our perspective from our time to the customer’s time, we create more solid relationships, we actually shorten sales cycles by not wasting time on things that are meaningless to them, we differentiate ourselves by creating more value in each meeting.
So it seems to me that if I focus on using my customer’s or prospect’s time well, I will also use my own time well not only for the meeting, but for maximizing my impact on the customer and shortening my own sales cycle.
Maybe I am being too simplistic, but it seems virtually every answer to sales productivity and effectiveness starts with the customer. In my experience, if I always start with thinking how I create the greatest value or experience of best use of their time that the answer is also one that leads me to the highest levels of productivity?
Am I being too simple in my thinking?