Mark Twain is said to have popularised the phrase “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”. In an amusing variation, an obviously learned British judge is said to have categorised witnesses into three classes: “simple liars, damned liars, and experts”.
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After all, successful selling is based on differentiation. Our company isn’t average. Our solutions aren’t average. The problems we solve aren’t average. We aren’t average. Our customers aren’t average.
Our differentiation depends upon circumstances and context. In almost any imaginable complex B2B sales environment, selling an average solution to an average customer in an average way is an unlikely basis for sales success.
When we base our decisions on averages, we end up swimming in a very crowded pool. What we really need to understand are not the averages, but the outliers that represent our “sweet spots” and that help us to segment our markets and to target and qualify our best opportunities.
What is it that makes our company stand out from the crowd? (starting with “why” might help). What is it that makes our approach and our solutions stand out from the crowd? What is it that makes our best customers stand out from the crowd (understanding their “why” might help).
Do we really want to recruit sales people that are so average that they blend into the crowd? To promote our solutions in a way that sounds like everyone else? Or to publish self-labelled thought leadership that says nothing different from the millions of words that have already been published on the subject?
Average behaviour drives average results
When we – deliberately or unconsciously – follow the average, we get (at best) average results. And we probably don’t deserve anything more.
I’m not average. I’d rather work with the minority of companies and people that believe what I believe than pander to the average. I hope that from time to time I publish material that makes people stop and think rather than wondering where they read the idea before.
If I requote things, I hope I bring a fresh perspective on them and stimulate people to think differently about the subject. Of course, sometimes I won’t succeed, but overall, I believe that it is at least worth trying.
I hope you do, too.