I had a call from a frustrated sales person. He said, “Dave, I read your stuff all the time. You are relentless in focusing on the customer, their problems, and their goals. I get it, but I’m in trouble, I need to achieve my goals!! That’s what I really care about!”
I really get where this sales person is coming from. Undoubtedly, 10’s of thousands of other sales professionals are thinking the same thing.
Truth be told, I try to say “No” to anything that doesn’t enable me to achieve my goals. I’m very selfish, virtually everything I do, including writing this blog, is oriented around contributing to my ability to achieve my goals.
That’s why focusing on the customer, their goals, and their success is so critical to achieving our goals.
While it may be obvious, we need to make this explicit: We can’t achieve our goals until the customer has decided to change and is taking action to achieving their goals.
Without this basic action on the part of the customer, they won’t buy! However strongly we try to sell, our efforts are wasted.
But I’m astounded by the number of sales people who intellectually say, “Duuggghh, tell me something new,” yet when you examine their behaviors they are doing the exact opposite.
They focus on a their need to sell, constantly pitching their products, hoping a customer will succumb and buy. They invest time on customers who’ve shown no commitment to change and buy, but are willing to listen to sales call after sales call, demo after demo, yet have no intention of changing (By the way, watch for James Muir’s upcoming book, The Perfect Close, The Secret To Closing Sales. It includes brilliant discussions of these wasted efforts.).
Sales people in desperation to achieving their goals, chase opportunities they have no business chasing. They are far outside their sweet spots, trying to solve problems that don’t fit what they do well. In their desperation, they crank up the volume, casting wider and wider nets, with poorer outcomes.
We need to be viciously focused and selfish. We need to focus on achieving our goals.
The only way we do this is focusing only on those customers that have the problems we solve and have made a commitment to solve those problems. Until they take action, we don’t get orders!
We have the responsibility to ourselves and to our customers to incite action with those who should change but haven’t committed to change or even recognized they should change. We don’t do this by endlessly pitching our products, but we do this by helping them understand the consequences of not changing!
We should be very selfish about achieving our objectives. It keeps us focused and prevents us from wasting time on wishful thinking or bad opportunities.
We need to be selfish, recognizing until the customer has decided to take action, we will never get an order. Consequently, all our efforts are focused on facilitating our customers drive to change and their buying process.
We are in the business of producing results and the only way we produce results is helping our customers produce theirs.