Imagine going to the doctor with what you believe is a severely sprained or broken ankle only to have the doctor come in and instead of listening to you he begins to tell you about this wonderful new flu medicine the drug rep brought by last week. He then prescribes you an antibiotic, a cough medicine, the new flu drug and tells you to drink plenty of fluids. He didn’t listen to you at all. He proceeded to give you what he “thought” you needed without hearing you.
Sales people are often like that. They come in with pre-conceived ideas about what you “need” and fail miserably to listen to you. They begin to tell you all the wonderful things this new thing (software, gizmo, gadget) will do for you and how desperately you need it. That’s the reason sales people drive me crazy.
Now imagine a sales representative coming into a meeting with you and not talking about technology, features, or benefits but asking you specific questions about your organizations short range and long range business objectives and strategies. They would ask about your previous experiences with technology roll outs, both failures and successes and listen carefully and completely to your answers. The sales person then repeats to you in outline form what your objectives and overall strategy is. Only then would they tell you they can help you with that and will get back to you with a proposal outlining how they can provide a solution that meets your objectives and overall strategy with minimized risk for failure, requiring the least amount of company resources as possible. Quite different isn’t it?
Much like a doctor, I believe in listening to the client (patient) to find out as much as possible about their needs and objectives (illness, injury), getting their past experiences (history) and current overall state of business (health) to determine if I can be of some help to them. I don’t believe in “selling” technology or services to someone unless it is properly aligned to accomplish specific business objectives and strategies. I don’t believe we really sell technology at all! I provide a means for accomplishing the business objectives. Without that I would just become another salesman and they drive me CRAZY!