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Sales Lesson #1: Don’t ‘Get’ Your Customers to Do Anything!
Blog / For Sales Pros / Jan 17, 2018 / Posted by Andy Rudin / 6198

Sales Lesson #1: Don’t ‘Get’ Your Customers to Do Anything!


Search on the phrase, “how to get your customer to . . .” and you can learn how to get them

. . . to trust you,

. . . to buy, and

. . . to pay 10% more,

Want to get them to love you, too? Click here to learn how!

Ignore these tactics! Don’t “get” your customers to do anything! The killer skill to develop is the ability to help customers succeed. Ask a top revenue producer – one who truly serves customers – how he or she gets customers to buy. They’d reveal that they don’t get their customers to do anything. Instead, they guide their customers to achieve the outcomes they want. Win – win.

Guiding versus Getting: these are fundamentally different approaches, with little in common. Guiding assumes prospects can be trusted, Getting assumes they cannot. Guiding sees prospects as partners, Getting sees them as objects. Guiding views prospects as capable decision makers, Getting views them as inept. Guiding relies on inquiry and collaboration, Getting relies on telling and insistence. In countless interviews I’ve held with successful sales professionals, I’ve learned they embrace Guiding in every customer interaction, and eschew Getting.

“How to get your prospect to [fill in the blank]!” What regularly emerges are coercive, high-pressure sales tactics that break customer rapport and erode trust. Instead of improving sales outcomes and buying experiences, the resulting behaviors and activities undermine them.

The top producers I’ve worked with have figured out a better way, and honed their skills accordingly. They begin with a natural curiosity, and connect it to a sincere desire to understand customer problems, limitations, issues, concerns, performance gaps, and strategic challenges. They uncover the intensity of motivation to change the situation, and learn the mechanisms their customers have developed for investing in solutions. And if customers lack the mechanisms, top producers guide them to create a path forward. From there, they harness the power of the customer’s will to change. The energy might be low, or altogether absent, which is why reps, often goaded by their managers, turn to Getting. My question to them: how’s that working for you?

The best salespeople know how forcing customer action becomes a distraction. It can also backfire. As one rep, Denise, explained it to me, “I don’t push the monthly specials the way management wants me to. They don’t work, and it’s not the way my customers buy . . . When I talk on the phone, there’s no sales urgency to my voice.” The year I interviewed her, she was her company’s top producer out of over 50 reps. Though her immediate boss wasn’t clear about the reasons for her success, her statement provides much of the answer: Denise guides her customers. She doesn’t get them to do anything.

About Author

Andrew (Andy) Rudin serves as Managing Principal of Contrary Domino, Inc., and helps B2B companies identify, assess, and manage a broad spectrum of revenue risks. He has a successful background as a technology sales strategist, marketer, account executive, and product manager.


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