Thursday, June 29, 2006

Seth Godin and point number 6 (of 9)

Seth Godin wrote an interesting piece titled Nine things marketers ought to know about salespeople (and two bonuses) . Point number six made me think of a rewrite from a client's point of view.

The context of Seth's post surrounds what salespeople would say to marketers about the process and passion of selling. It could apply to the relationship between sales and marketing in any company, large or small, within any industry. I am not contesting any of Seth's points. I think they are great and he always amazes me with his thoughts.

Here is his point number 6 of 9:
6. I have no earthly idea what really works. I don't know if it's lunch or that powerpoint or the Christmas card I sent last year. But you know what? You have no clue what works either. I'll keep experimenting if you will.

I wanted to take the exact same quote and insert some additional words to reflect what buyers think of salespeople. In terms of my context, I rewrote it from a client side perspective to illustrate what salespeople are really up against.

As a prospective buyer of a business service, product or a piece of hardware/software - be it a widget or an application - I am trying to point out a systemic problem in business to business sales. The problem is the jaded buyer. Why jaded? Well, because they have likely dealt with a past letdown that began with a bloated promise from a salesperson or sales team.

So please read what I have changed below in with that frame of mind:

"I have no earthly idea what really works. I don't know if what I sold you is going to work as long as lunch or that powerpoint or the Christmas card I sent last year gets me the sale. But you know what? You have no clue if it will work either. I'll keep experimenting if you will, but you will be experimenting on your own dime figuring out if I actually knew what you needed and sold you the right solution. But what I do know is that if quarter-end is near and I may be able to close, I will write, call or sell my first born child to meet that quota."

Yeah, that's more like it. Let the account people or client services handle it after I'm done my sellin'. Those folks have the right skill set to clean up a mess. Me? Nah, I just sell the stuff and move right along.

Now, I am not trying to be hard on sales people here. There are some truly great ones out there with great products. I know of great ones who have stayed the course and helped fix problems and resolve situations along side the account team. My point is that they are hurdles that Seth could probably write at least 9 more points on when it comes to what salespeople ought to know about the jaded buyer's mindset.

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