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Return On Your “Selling” Investment

by David Brock on September 27th, 2011

Some who have been following me for some time may be a little surprised about this title.  I’m always focused on creating value for the customer, aligning sales process with the customer buying process, and being viciously customer focused. 

But, selling is a “for profit” activity (even in not for profits).  It’s critical the customers we work with give us a fair return on our selling investment—if they don’t thy’re not doing their job!  Well maybe that’s a little too strong, but it’s critical that we invest our time, where customers value that investment.

There are customers that will never, for various reasons value what we bring to the table—they may not care about the ideas we bring to help improve their businesses, they may not want us to help them be more efficient, they may not believe we can be knowledgeable enough to contribute to their goals.  Regardless of how compelling our arguments may be, they simply don’t care or don’t value that.

I’m not saying they are good or bad organizations or customers, it’s simply that what we have to offer is not perceived as value to them and never will be.  Stated otherwise, they may be someone’s good customer, but they’re not likely to be ours.

The other day, I wrote an article, Do We Really Want To Provide Customers Added Value?  There is a different way to consider this issue–I think it’s very important for sales and marketing people to consider: Do We Really Want Customers That Don’t Value What We Provide? 

As sales professionals, we get the highest return on our selling investment by focusing on customers in our sweet spot—those are customers that value what we provide. These are customer who are well aligned with what our differentiating value.  We may be able to move some prospects into our sweet spot by educating or persuading them that things that we do–which they previously did not value–are now valuable to them.  But if we can’t do this, if the prospects we are pursuing don’t value what we offer, then we are wasting our time.

Our customers expect a Return On Their Investments.  But at the same time, our time as sales professionals is valuable, we should challenge each customer to give us a Return On Our Selling Investment.  If they can’t, we are wasting our time and theirs.  We need to go someplace where we can get a positive ROSI.

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  1. Michael Waldman permalink

    Interesting topic.

    A Sales person can cultivate new customers and develop better relationships in existing customers but unless you are self-employed it is rare that you get to actually choose your customers !!

    Sometimes a customer is ‘strategic’ to Upper Management regardless of the ‘value’ proposition. It is very true that some potential customers will not percieve your company as adding value no matter how hard you try. As you imply, it is best to move on and work with customers who do find value in your relationship/products.

    Michael Waldman

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