Hopefully, most sales people recognize they create more value when they are being helpful to the customer. Just focusing on getting the order isn’t very helpful, we need to move past that.
But do we really understand the help our customers need, and are we providing that help?
It seems the help too many organizations think the help customers need is focusing on telling our customers about our companies and our products. They think it’s helpful to share “corporate glamour charts,” focusing on how impressive their companies are.
These organizations and salespeople think the process of handing customers from one person to another is helpful. One person prospects, another qualifies, another tries to learn requirements. Then they are passed to someone who does a demo–not one focused on the customer requirements, but one focused on what the sales people want to demonstrate. Finally, they are passed to someone to close and ask for the order.
But it turns out this isn’t that helpful to the customer. They struggle less in making a product selection, they struggle in other areas:
- How do they make sense of all the information they can access? There is an overwhelming amount of high quality information, from too many sources. Much of it conflicts with other information. What should they be looking for? What’s most important for the decision they are making? What should they ignore, not because it isn’t good, but because it’s not important for their decision?
- Are they looking at the right issues? Should they be looking at things differently? How do they assess the risks?
- How do they align the differing priorities and agendas in the buying group? How do they navigate their buying journey most effectively?
- How do they know they are making the right decision? How do they get confidence that they are doing the right thing for their company and for themselves?
We’ve long known where customers struggle the most in their buying journeys. We know where they need help and the kind of help customer value. Yet, for some reason, sales people continue not to provide the help their customers most value.
How can salespeople begin to help customers if they don’t understand the customer, their business, their markets? How can salespeople be helpful if they don’t understand the business and personal issues their customers face as they look at change?
What does it take for sellers to recognize and respond by being truly helpful to their customers? Imagine what it might mean to their ability to connect with customers and how they achieve more success through their customers.