Talk about radio silence. My last post was almost 2 months ago. Wow. I am definitely not a blogger. Nor is my desire to be a blogger. I just want to be a guy with a perspective. One that others find valuable. So, please know that while I am committed to posting more often than every two months (yikes), please know that I will only post when my comments have meaning. And the next “End of the World” post is coming… some day.
In the mean time, I would like to take a moment to share the main points from a key note I gave to representatives of South Africa’s banks yesterday in Johannesburg. The theme was “5 Things Your Customers Want” and here they are:
- They do not want your products or services. They want their problems solved.
- They do not want to be your “market.” They want to be unique.
- They do not want to follow your rules. They want you to follow their lifestyles.
- They do not want your volume of choices. They want integration.
- They do not want your process. They want relevant conversations.
Clearly, this is fuel for my next series of blogs. But my point here is this: the number one desire of customers is that the people who sell to them would be trusted advisors. Trusted advisors solve problems, treat their clients as unique, follow their clients’ life (and work) styles, integrate their value, and provide relevant conversations.
Mirror moment: How consistently do you offer all five of these things?
Since I am still in Africa for another week, my internet access will be somewhat spotty. But I will do my best to respond to your comments as I am able.
I mua… Onward and upward.
P.S. For those of you who care, I am extremely honored to have been mentioned one of the top sales influencers on Twitter. THANK YOU so much to all of you who retweet my ramblings.
2 thoughts on “Ending my radio silence”
Tim: I’m looking forward to this series. Doing this consistently and sustaining it, year after year, is the $64K question. These have been central to how customers want to be treated for decades at the very least. Hundreds of books, thousands of blog posts talk about some or all these issues.
These are the principles of Consultative Selling, originally written by Mack Hanan in the 70’s. While he was alive, he and I used to talk about these issues quite a bit. The conversations centered around, “If so much has been written about these, and it seems so obvious, what is it that keeps people and organizations from executing these and sustaining them over time?”
Mack’s view was a lot of the challenge was leadership (or lack of it)–both sales and corporate. I tend to agree. The constant shifting of priorities, the mentality of a strategy du jour, the lack of courage, in many instances, keep us from doing this consistently over time.
I also think it has something to do with the way people are wired–we all focus on our own self interests. Your 5 points basically are customers articulating their self interest. Yet we tend to act in our own self interest.
Perhaps the path to consistency is aligning self interests?
In any case, I’m looking forward to the discussions.
Thanks for your response, Dave. I was just talking with folks about what the prime barrier is. We also came up with leadership. Considering the last three discussions I have had with Sales VPs, I don’t think it’s about a lack of recognition. They recognize that things have changed alright. It’s the part where “changing the status quo” comes in that freaks them out. I’m not sure if it is old-fashioned fear talking (as in, “I don’t want to be the guy/gal who screwed things up”) or self-interest (as in, “I just got everything lined up for my maximum benefit”).
The cold reality is that most leaders today are the greatest recipients of the status quo. For the self-interested folks among them, the lack of desire to change the organization is essentially negligent. As they say in South Africa – shame…
I do think you are right to say that aligning self-interests, getting both sides to recognize the win-win opportunity (holy snap – did I just drop 1980’s sales lingo?!), is essential to creating that path to consistency. But until the status quo becomes an unbearable alternative for self-interested sales leaders, we are doomed to watch some really cool companies go under. As new ones take their place.