Executive Sales Leader Briefing: What Customers are You Listening To?

 

Welcome to the Executive Sales Leader Briefing, a new blog series I am doing every Friday.

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What Customers are You Listening To?

Earlier this year I sat in a senior executive’s office of a major company and the person shared with me how customers were pushing back on everything the company was attempting to do.

I challenged his thinking with the question as to who he was hearing it from.   After some digging on my part, he admitted his thinking was based on two customers.

What customers are you listening to and, more importantly, how many customers are you listening to?   We get ourselves into trouble when we allow a single customer meeting to shape our thinking.

We would jump all over somebody who came and claimed something based on a single data point, but that’s exactly what we run the risk of doing.

In my last corporate role with a “Fortune 200” company, I can’t tell you the number of times I had a senior management person storming into my office after a single customer meeting, proclaiming how they knew what needed to be done.

Customer input is valuable. I’ve always been a huge proponent of getting ALL senior managers out meeting with customers on a regular basis.

The objective, however, is not to visit a single customer, but to visit a cross-section of customers.

The best way to deal with this issue is for the VP of Sales to introduce at the next CEO staff meeting a calendar for the year outlining key windows when certain customers should be visited and begin allocating or even assigning who will visit who.

This might sound insulting, but I guarantee that unless customer meetings are built into the calendar early in the year, they simply will not happen.

Copyright 2015, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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