Sunday, March 14, 2010

The foundation for Customer-Centric Selling - Understanding the customer's business.

Customer Service Rule : "You Must Understand Our Business"

Too many of the sales calls that customers receive are not relevant to their situations and their needs.
For business customers, the most important question is never whether or not your products and services are capable of delivering value. It is whether or not your customers need and can use the value being offered.

If you talk with the executives in your company, you will surely find that they get a tremendous number of irrelevant sales calls, too. When you talk to them, listen for this complaint about the salespeople who make the calls: "They don't understand our business."
The salesperson's inability and/or unwillingness to understand the customer's business creates a fundamental barrier to effective selling. The ability to understand a customer's company structure, operations, competitive environment, and financial results and concerns supports everything you do as a business-to-business salesperson. You cannot manage customer satisfaction, provide applications, solve problems, and create innovative solutions if you do not understand the customer's world. Understanding the customer's business is the foundation for customer-centric selling. As Dan Garrett, vice president and managing partner at Computer Sciences Corporation's Global Health Solutions, says, "To avoid being transactionally based, you must take the time to understand both your client's business and the industry in which it operates. This involves taking a close look under the covers to figure out not just how to serve your client and your client's client, but also the industry as a whole."

When we ask business customers to describe world-class salespeople, they talk about the ability of these salespeople to communicate in the vernacular of the customer's company and industry, to speak knowledgeably to the issues and needs of the customer (sometimes, before the customer has fully realized those issues and needs), and to integrate themselves into the customer's company. The fundamental skill behind all of these capabilities is also the driving force behind this customer rule: "You must understand our business."



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