The Lies of Needing to be right all the time for Sales & Marketing Pros
I bet you like to be right. Right? I don’t blame you. I do, too. There’s just something about sales & marketing pros wanting to be proven right. We can be rather righteous like that. We like things our way. We like it when we put forth a convincing argument for a product or service and successfully persuade people to buy. We live for it, in fact. We are influence and persuasion machines.
What would happen if we let go of our need to be right all the time? What would happen if we began each interaction coming from the other person’s perspective through the power of Empathy? What then? What would that mean? Would we cease to sell any more? Would we sell at all? How on earth would we persuade people to buy from us?
Where the O.G. world of sales and marketing came from.
The O.G. world of sales and marketing was only coming from your perspective, top-down, corporate style: “We’ve been in business for 197 years…Our widgets are the industry-best…so is our award-winning customer service…” In the O.G., it is me-centric: look at me; look at me; look at me. Look at my stuff. Look at my stuff. Look at my stuff. You will sit there and like watching my boring slide deck because you have to be cool to me. Even if it bores the living hell out of you.
In the O.G., it’s like we’re practically begging our customers to pay attention to us and to buy our stuff. In certain industries, people were and some even are today.
Not sure whether you’ve noticed but the O.G. world of sales & marketing doesn’t work nearly as well today as it once did. People don’t really want to hear about your stuff. Not really. They don’t want to hear about your stuff until you’ve taken the time to understand them and their stuff, their problems, their concerns, their day-to-day. They want to feel like you get them first before they want to talk your stuff.
Know your market. Know your audience.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Jeff: Know your market. I got it.
But do you? Do you really know your market that well?
All innovation begins with customer insight acquired through deep research and empathy, with knowing your customer as well as she knows herself. I always like to say one of the best ways to get to know your market is to actually be (or have been) in your market. Best way to know it and to understand it is to have already lived it yourself. Remember: markets shift.
People come and go in markets, making them rather dynamic. They don’t stay the same. Markets, like the people in them, change. They have new needs, new demands. This is why you always have to have your fingers on the pulse of your market.
You want a hot market seeking a product; not a product seeking a market (that nobody wants to buy)*.
Do you know what your market doesn’t care about? They don’t care about you being right all the time. They care about you understanding them, their needs, their concerns, and their anxieties. They care about you alleviating their fears. They care about getting your expert help in solving their problems. They care about developing a relationship with somebody who has been there, seen the landscape, worked the field, knows the common gotchas, and can help navigate choppy waters. THAT’s what your customer really wants: an expert guide who is helpful and humble and useful and generous and cool to be around.
The modern day sales & marketing pro knows that it isn’t really about him / her. It never was about you. No. It is about your customer’s success. Without that, you’re nowhere. Same thing goes for all companies. If your customer isn’t happy with your product / service, nothing else really matters until we make her happy. Because what do all companies want? Happy, repeat customers. Happy customers who buy again and again and again. The virtuous sales cycle. SAAS and subscription business models crumble in the face of poor customer experiences.
The heavy tax paid on being right all the time…
See, it never had anything at all to do with you being right all the time. Being right all the time is very expensive emotionally. Being Right all the time requires paying a heavy tax on personal and professional relationships. Being right all the time is overrated.
Your customer doesn’t care whether you’re right all the time about every, single thing. Your customer cares whether you /get/ them.
Do not underestimate the power in making people feel understood, like you heard them thoroughly. People pay others good money simply to feel listened to. Since nobody is paying much attention to anybody at all any more, you can venture to guess the “professional listening industry” is thriving.
Coaching / therapy / counseling thrives in 2020 and beyond. People are starving for good, authentic, full communication. It’s almost like, in all our bluster, hustle & bustle of our daily lives, we’ve forgotten what it is like to slow down, breathe, and have honest, full-on communication with someone! At the very least, it is rare. And the sales & marketing pro that can deliver on this to someone consistently, wins.
And you’re all about winning, right?