If you are a business owner, sales person, or marketer, have you ever received a call or a sales lead which unexpectedly led to a very large order worth a lot of money to your company? In fact, it surprised you, and you almost felt a little guilty like you were getting away with something but you were delighted nevertheless. Chances are, if you’ve been in business for a while, you have experienced a similar scenario.
On the other hand, have you ever found yourself laboring for endless hours on a proposal for a small project with relatively modest potential sales revenue? You traveled to the potential client’s business location, spent much time on follow up communication via email and phone, and even offered the prospect a discount; only to watch the client choose a competitive bid? I intuit you experienced this business situation also; that experience was probably accompanied by some frustration.
After almost 20 years of entrepreneurial sales and marketing experience, I can most certainly relate to both scenarios. However, the emotional pendulum does not swing quite as widely between joyous disbelief and frustration any longer, although a sales or marketing situations may still baffle me from time to time.
Let me offer some thoughts and a brief hypothesis as to why you might experience the above sales and business situations. Here we go…
You do not control your customers’ behavior!
If you think you have any control over your customers’ actions and experiences then you are laboring under a misapprehension. The customers’ choices, behaviors, and experiences of your products and services are solely in their hands. Therefore, surrender any further attempts at control and shift your perspective, and you will find much more fulfillment and joy in your business dealings.
The primary reason a customer chooses you as a business partner, is as the consequence of what you have become. In other words, a client chooses to work with you because of what your and your organization’s principles, values, and belief systems are. Is profit your primary criteria for success? Or do you ask yourself ‘how can I serve my customers and our community?’ The answer to those questions will determine the particulars of every business action you take such as your next sales call, your marketing strategy, how you treat your colleagues and business partners, and it affects the sense of fulfillment you have about your job and business in general. Clarification of your values and purpose can be a great predictor of success. The more one shifts the perspective from profit-centric to customer-centric, the higher the likelihood of business success. This last statement is nothing new to many of you but still foreign to many others.
Profit matters but it’s only a gauge of how much value you have added to your customers’ business, it’s nothing more. Your business sort of becomes what your customers need, which means being a tenacious student of your industry, products, and services.
On the other hand, only focusing on the latest marketing techniques, or collecting LinkedIn connections or Twitter followers, or using slightly outdated marketing interruption techniques (TV advertising, radio, cold calling) is probably a waste of your time and money.
The only area of influence (not control), is the foundation you have built for your organization. You still use all the tools at your your disposal e.g. social media, some traditional marketing strategies, but they grow out of a different paradigm. A paradigm that is not based on controlling the customers’ behaviors through a clever marketing and advertising campaign. Instead, your actions grow out of a paradigm which focuses on values and purpose clarification. It’s this shift in perspective which “attracts” prospects and clients to you, and choose you as a business partner. Your positive and customer-centric intentions will spread like ripples in a pond with consequences beyond your control.
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