What Business Are You In?

What Business Are You In?

If you answered anything other than the people business, you failed. Companies do not buy products, people do. Salespeople regularly make the mistake of leading with their product before they understand the customer’s business issue. Salespeople often think that if they know their products inside and out, they can persuade customers to buy them. However, this is often not the case. Why? Customers buy products for many reasons, including perceptions, relationships, etc. Salespeople must understand them. People first, product second.

For example, my wife and I recently visited a car dealership. We were approached by a salesperson while we were standing next to a particular vehicle. The salesperson immediately started listing all of the car’s features, functions and specifications without first understanding what we were looking for and why. That is, who would be the primary driver? What would we be using the car for? Do we have kids? If so, how many and what ages? Etc. How could the salesperson help us solve our problem unless he first understood it?

In contrast, last week, I had a meeting with a prospective partner. Instead of launching into how we could do business, the partner representative started the conversation by saying that he did not think we should do business together because I went to Gonzaga University and he went to Saint Mary’s, two basketball rivals. He said that we would never get along. While he was joking, I instantly liked him. The partner representative knew that he was in the people business.  Before talking partnership, he found out something about me and figured out how to incorporate it.

Sales is about service. It is about helping customers solve problems and make the right decisions. You must understand the customer’s problems to help solve them. You must also understand their issues to help them make the right decisions. Great salespeople always make cusotmers more important than products. They take an interest in customers first before taking an interest in selling them something. Stay interested in customers before, during and after the sale. Stay interested in customers even if you do not get the sale. People first, product second.

All contents copyright © 2013, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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