As a seller, what’s your job? Are you working to close a sale? Feed your family? Continue living in the style you’re accustomed to? Be the best? Make a name for yourself? Keep your job? Meet your quota? Your ego?
What would need to be true if your priority were to truly serve a customer? Would you need to get paid more? Would there have to be some sort of directive from the top? Would you need to learn new skills? Would your job be different? What would it look like? What would be different?
Years ago I attempted to get a publisher for a book about customer centric selling (a decade before that term became commonplace) and was told there wouldn’t be a market for it. The book was based on concentric circles, with the customer in the middle circle, and technology and sales in the next outter circle, and management, etc. moving out to the largest/last circle where the Board sat. The idea being that everything everyone did was based on the central concept of serving the customer.
Instead, we have corporations that put customers in different silos with different people serving each of their needs – silos that don’t talk to each other, I might add. We promise clients things we cannot do because we’re told we’re not allowed to. We don’t return phone calls because we get busy, and expect customers to understand. We change technology, or programs, because it’s expedient, without keeping the customer in mind. We develop solutions because they fit with our product line, rather than targeting them to the customer’s wishes. We outsource our help desks to other countries because it’s cheaper, and we don’t heed customer complaints about service.
OUR JOB IS TO SERVE
I believe a seller’s priority is to serve clients. It’s the only job a seller has. If a solution is the correct way to serve, then that’s what’s needed. If just a discussion and support for a different solution is what they need – even if it’s a competitor’s – so be it.
We’re in it for the life cycle of a client, not just one transaction, so we must set up our technology, our internal report structure, our support services, with our customer’s needs at the forefront.
And we must get rid of those silos. Customers hate when they get put on hold for each person they need to speak with for each problem, or when they speak with one team member who knows nothing of a conversation they had with a different team member.
WHAT SKILLS DO WE NEED
Do our sales skills give us the capability to serve our clients in a way they need to be served?
I suspect our sales skills do little more than attempt to sell our solutions. What would we need to be doing differently if our jobs were to really, really serve our clients? And what skills would we need?
So let’s make ‘serving’ a priority, shall we? Facilitating our clients, making more money, helping our company, and making everyone’s lives easier.