November 2016. There are still leaders thinking that the best way to sell is by “hunting” customers. They look for sales people to join their company and the job description says something like “hunter”. Let me offer you an example:
Wait, they are also looking for a Sales Manager!
Either leaders at this company change their mentality, or the will be outperformed by their competitors in a couple of years. Why? Because customers don’t want this anymore, they don’t accept it anymore.
The bad, the good and the ugly
Yes, I know the film title started with “the good”, but when talking about sales organisations, the bad comes first.
- The bad: some companies still want hunters in the front line. Very ambitious people, super competitive and driven mostly by money to acquire customers. Those are the bad guys and that’s the perception some prospects and customers have about them.
- The good: after acquisition is done, the bad, the sales aggressive guy goes away and hands the account over to the account manager, customer success manager, account executive… Those are the good guys, with interpersonal skills that sometimes need to apologise for the too aggressive behaviour of the sales guy, and promise the customer to do their best to help them succeed with their product. I like those guys.
- The ugly: the sales leader who thinks this combined model is still working as a great way of doing business.
Customers changed the way they buy from you
Tell me your product is unique in the market and I will deny it. Nowadays, there are only a very few unique products that have no good quality competitors in their industry. And for those, the time for them to have competitors will be shorter than ever before.
“Customers are no longer buying products and services – they are buying experiences delivered via the products and services.” (Gregory Yankelovich, CEO Customer Experience IQ)
Customers have more information about your product and your competitors even before talking to anyone at your company. Yes, they look at your website, but they also find information about you and your product or services in social media, the read reviews from your users, they talk to your customers. And the reality is that they will make their decision based mostly on what other people say about you. Not on what you say about yourself anymore.
The customer journey starts way before they become a customer. How you treat your prospects and customers will determine your acquisition, expansion and retention.
Please don’t do this with your customers
I have to boys, 6 and 3 years old. The 6 years old is on a waiting list to get tennis lessons. As soon as they get a group of 6 kids, he can start. Obviously, as an enthusiastic father I couldn’t wait and wanted to buy him a tennis racket, so I went to a shop nearby home with him last week.
This is a sports shop that apparently sells items from previous seasons, so they are significantly cheaper than at other shops. I went there many times, I bought some stuff sometimes, and people working there are usually friendly and willing to help.
I got there with my son, went straight to their tennis section and started looking at their tennis rackets. There were two sizes and I wasn’t sure about which one would be best for my kid. There was an explanation on the label giving both age and kids’ height as a guidance for choosing the right size. Following that advice, the size should be 21″.
After a while, a guy from the shop came nearby but didn’t approach us directly. I turned to him to ask for advice. He didn’t say hello, he didn’t smile. He looked at me very serious with an expression of annoyance in his eyes. I felt as if I was disturbing him.
Then, he explained that my son should hold the racket in parallel to his leg and see if the head of it would reach a point between his ankle and the floor. My son held the racket but he didn’t understand from him what he should do, so the guy was even more rude when he had to explain it again to him. Finally, he said we should buy the smaller size, 19″ (4 to 5 years old) option because the bigger one (21″, 6 to 9 years old) was too big for him because the racket almost touched the floor.
So, I gently questioned that saying that the racket itself said something else based on age and centimeters, plus the fact that if we would buy the smaller one, we would probably need to buy the bigger one in a couple of months anyway.
He reacted quite badly, being rude again and saying exactly the same. He was repeating himself and not adding any further explanation on why he believed the smaller one would be the best choice for us. Then he left.
After thinking about it and feeling very disappointed and I must say, angry about my experience there, I left the shop without buying anything. They guy even gave me a hard look when we were leaving I guess because I didn’t buy at the end.
Lesson to learn
- I went to that shop because I liked it, because they have good products cheaper and they are nice with their customers.
- I had the intention to buy, not going anywhere else to compare, just buy a tennis racket right there and then.
- Thanks to that experience, I didn’t buy it and I am willing to pay 2 to 3 times the price for a similar product at a different shop.
- I don’t feel like going there anymore to buy anything else. I have nothing against the business or the other people working there, but just thinking this guy may be there in my next visit to the shop makes me uncomfortable.
But I will go back
I will go back and hope this guy is there. I want to see if that was only a moment when he had a tough day and he treated me influenced by his bad mood. I want to give another chance and see what happens.
If you think about it, this probably have happened to you a few times. having a coffee, shopping, calling a contact center. Customer experience drives revenue more than ever before, and you need to think about how to deliver a great one to your customers, right from the beginning of the sales cycle.
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