Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Looking at literature on how to sell better is always an eye-opener for me because it makes me realize a couple of things about my own business, which does indeed revolve around selling a service.
One thing we are unconsciously doing at my company is accelerating our thinking past selling to our customer, to selling to their customers. After all, that's the whole point of our service: targeting our client's customer. Our client is a customer, but if we linger on that point too long without getting engaged with their customers, no one wins. What's required in this scenario, it seems, is "double empathy." Especially for shops (like Future Now; we do a shorthand version of this) who must engage in profile and scenario research to help other shops sell better in a whole variety of industries, it's great mental gymnastics. As the television personal trainers say, it "gets you out of your comfort zone." Since the phone started ringing in 2001, and I started helping other companies sell to their customers, I've been out of my "comfort zone." This becomes a comfort zone in itself. I wouldn't trade that experience in developing "double empathy" for the world.
The situation can, however, go up another notch in complexity. We are a marketing company helping other companies market to their customers, so we have to market to our clients and help our clients market to their clients. So far, so good. But what if we have to help a marketing company market to their clients? And what if their clients were, in many cases, marketers? We'd be marketing to a marketing company who is marketing to marketers.
Without going into detail, then, about why we say no to some of these projects, it's safest to say that certain projects make my head explode. For safety's sake, we'd be much better off taking it down one or two orders of complexity: we help you market software, or accounting services, or something made out of aluminum.
Labels: infinite regression, sales
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