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Trying To “Fix” Our Customers

by David Brock on April 1st, 2022

As leaders, when we think about developing our people, helping them overcome performance challenges, helping them grow; we know we can’t “fix” them—as much as we are tempted to try. We know that our people have to choose to “fix” themselves. They must want to change, they must want to learn, they must want to improve. Once they have made that choice, then we can help them through coaching, learning, and development activities.

This isn’t new, it’s a classic part of any leadership development program. And much of our work as leaders is helping our people recognize the need to change, to do something differently., enabling them to make a choice.

It’s interesting to reflect on what this means to sellers and how we most effectively work with customers. Too often, our approaches are trying to “fix” something with our customers. “They need a new tool, they need to improve performance, they need to address opportunities, they need to change.” Or worst, “They need to buy our product/service.”

Even if all those things are true, until the customer chooses to change, until they choose to “fix” themselves, none of what we do will have an impact. In fact, just like coaching our people, they will tend to resist or react negatively to all our attempts to fix them.

Until they recognize they need to be “fixed,” that they should consider changing, that they may be able to grow and improve, that they are open to considering something new or different; we are wasting their and our time.

We create no value, for our people or our customers, until they recognize the need to change or until they see something that needs to be fixed.

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