Some of them though.
They must have, judging by their actions with customers.
Here are a few interesting ones. What do you think?
#1 Customers share their most compelling needs
- The truth is NOT: customers will not share with you their most compelling needs
- Because their most compelling needs are to fix their biggest failures
- Customers are extremely reluctant to have their biggest failures publicly examined & discussed
- Because these failures are often personal – they blew it and badly too
- Who would want to put their own job at risk in that manner?
So, why do sales people only gather information from the customers’ manager?
Why aren’t sales people talking with Procurement, Safety, or other departments, as well as other suppliers to learn as much of the inside scoop as they can?
#2 Customers admit they’ve made a bad supplier choice
- The truth is NOT: customers do not admit they’ve made a bad supplier choice
- First, it’s hard for customers to tell if their supplier choice was an absolute failure unless and until there is an absolute failure – absent that it’s just degrees of poor choice
- Second, customers can beat up their bad-choice supplier to try for some degree of performance & compliance
- Third, see #1 above
So, why do sales people neglect to deal with this proactively in their proposals?
Why don’t they raises customers’ curiosity about all suppliers’ abilities (expect their own because of the evidence they proactively provide)?
Why don’t they attack by stating their strengths that highlights their competitors’ weaknesses?
#3 Customers see black & white differences between competitors
- The truth is NOT: customers do not see black & white differences between you & your competitors
- Customers don’t have to drink a supplier’s kool-aid
- They’re exposed to many suppliers pitching different wonder solutions
- All suppliers (at a certain level) have roughly similar programs in quality, hiring, training, safety & technology
- Customers see these as antes into the supplier-bidding game – suppliers have to have them to play
- As a result, customers see a gray scale of differences between you & competitors
So, why do suppliers stubbornly believe their competitive differences are as wide as the Grand Canyon, when in reality customers see their differences as narrow as a gutter?
#4 Customers & RFPs tell suppliers the way things really are
- The truth is NOT: customers do not tell suppliers the way things really are, nor do their RFPs
- Customers withhold the true state of their situation
- Out of self-protection – they fear suppliers will take advantage of their weaknesses
- Out of loyalty – a desire to protect their firm’s reputation for saintliness
- Out of self-preservation – see #1 above
So why do sales people willingly accept the first thing their told?
Instead of investigating deeper into the more compelling and persuasive truth?
I’m certain you don’t have these unbelievable beliefs, and that you bring a healthy dose of skepticism and curiosity.