Knowing Where Our Customers Live


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Too often, our problem as professional sales or marketing people is that we think like professional sales and marketing people. “Duh, Dave….thanks for sharing……”

We see things from our perspectives. We’ve got great ideas and insights, we’re anxious to demonstrate our knowledge and prowess to the customer. We’re really enthusiastic about our products and solutions, we just know the value that customers can get from them! We’ve got our jobs to do, things to achieve.

We see all sorts of opportunities for our customers, we want to help them achieve their goals and grow.

All this is great. The best of it is being of service to our customers, helping them grow. The worst….. well I won’t go there, it will get me on a tangent.

But it’s still all about us and what we are trying to do. Even our well intended insight is about our ideas our insight.

In order to connect and engage, we have to think like the customer. We have to be able to walk in their shoes to see things from their perspectives, to live in their worlds.

It’s a tough world!

Our customers live in a world of having too much to do, with too few resources, too little money, and no time.

It may be a world of continually shifting strategies and priorities, as they try to figure out how to grow and thrive. Constant restructuring, new strategies and intiatives are confusing, difficult to understand, and difficult to internalize.

It may be a world where some level of stability, some calm may be a peaceful respite from constant turmoil and change is needed.

It may be a world of disappointment. Individuals in a company striving to achieve goals, but not quite getting there. Personal disappointment–a missed bonus, promotion, missed dinners with family or kid’s events.

It may be a world filled with politics, back biting.

It may be a world where just getting through is all people can do. Doing something new, exciting, innovative—as fun as it is–may not be the reality. Keep you nose to the grindstone, do your job, don’t rock the boat may be the reality.

It may be a world of great excitement and energy. The customer has had great success–perhaps a great strategy, a new product, a vibrant market. But the customer is so busy chasing after that success and all the work it generates they can’t focus on anything else.

It maybe a world where there are great dreams, great ideas, great aspirations, but the timing’s just not right. They may not be ready, they may not have the resources, they may not be able to take the risk.

It may be a world of chaos and complexity, where just getting by is all that can be done.

So what’s this mean to us–sales and marketing professionals? Do we back off? Do we proceed?

If this is where our customers live, how do we connect and engage?

We must have empathy. We must recognize what our customers are going through. We must see things through their eyes, understand their emotions.

Connecting and engaging our customers is impossible without knowing where they live and having empathy.

Then something magic can happen. Empathy and insight can drive clarity. It can drive simplification.

Empathy and insight are the ultimate in engaging the hearts, minds, passions and energies of our customers—and our own organizations.

Do you know where your customers live?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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