Ever notice how precious time is? Like you, your customers are crazy busy and trying to maximize their time. And, as sales people, we have to understand where they want to spend their time in order to maximize our time. One of the best ways to do that is to better engage with your customers by seeing things through their lens and putting yourself in their shoes. Aligning with your customer’s priorities is a great way to manage your time and a big key to your, and your customer’s, success. To illustrate my point, here are two letters from your customer.
1. Truly Understand Me
Dear sales person,
Each and every day, I have a lot to do. I work with precision to ensure my team and I are set to reach the goals we agreed to at the beginning of the year. With that in mind, please understand that I am crazy busy, so I only want to:
• Talk to those who have done their research and validated it with me and/or other key stakeholders in my organization before meeting with me.
• Meet with you if you can help me and my team to accomplish our priority business outcomes today or in the future.
• Engage with those people who come prepared to provide insights and offer creative solutions that have worked for firms like mine in the past. And I want to understand how their outcomes were achieved with minimal risk.
I DO NOT want:
• You to visit me and tell me how old your company is, or present a list of your customers, products and services.
• To hear a pitch about your products and services, because I could really care less about their features and functions.
2. Stop Pressuring Me to Close
Dear sales person,
I realize you have an annual quota. I also have annual goals I must achieve. But why are you pushing me to close a deal when I am not ready?
You tell me that you have to close a deal by the end of your fiscal year. But why should I care? In my mind, it’s all about me – not you. Now, I like you. I really do. You continually provide me with insights, share best practices in my industry and offer new and creative ways of doing the things we have been doing for years. You have spent a lot of time understanding my business and I truly appreciate it.
But I can’t and won’t sign a deal on your timeline. Even if you gave it to me for $1 – which I know you wouldn’t. My timing is my timing. It is what I have discussed with my team and my management, and we are working towards our dates, not yours. If you ask me to, I will share these dates with you IF I believe you will provide me with value and truly will be there to help me. Why wouldn’t I?
I realize your success is my success and vice versa.
Bottom line: Continually make a concerted effort to understand your customers. It should be all about them! This is the best way to maximize everyone’s time. Put yourself in their shoes and look through their lens – always. Their appreciation will come back to you in big rewards.
All salesmen should consider their customer’s buying process, and align with their sales process. Great write up Janice Mars.