One of the hardest things about being a Customer Success Master® is pouring your heart and soul into a customer to discover they just won’t move to where we think they need to go, in other words from our perspective, ‘they don’t get it’! It’s a painful part of the customer relationship building process but ultimately, we have to accept the fact that not everyone shares our perspectives. Perspectives aside, we must do a self assessment or gut check to insure we are presenting our profit opportunities from a position of integrity and desire to see the customer thrive and prosper. We need to check ourselves to determine if we are truly working from a ‘sell through’ position vs a ‘sell to’ position.
By ‘sell through’ I mean understanding the customer’s needs, wants and pain points. How will they help the customer’s customer (family, friends, associates) thrive with your profit opportunity. My friend August Turak says “It is in our own self interest to forget our own self interest.” August is referring to many things in life however, I am using it for sales leadership in this writing. All of this leads to a question we must ask ourselves, ‘how have I influenced the customer in the past and present?’ Have I influenced from a selflessness position (Sell through) or from a self interest position of wanting to just make a sale (sell to)? The truth is found in understanding the power of our Influence which should be inspirational.
William George Jordan had this to say about influence: “No individual is so insignificant as to be without influence. The changes in our varying moods are all recorded in the delicate barometers of the lives of others. We should ever let our influence filter through human love and sympathy. We should not be merely an influence,—we should be an inspiration. By our very presence we should be a tower of strength to the hungering human souls around us.” As a side note my personal desire is to be considered a thought leader because of my inspiration to others.
So, is there somewhere in the relationship you have influenced the customer by your actions and didn’t realize it until days, months or years later? Influence is positive and negative. We humans dwell on the negatives far more than the positive influence.
Here is an example that Jordan points to regarding Charles Darwin. “In 1797, William Godwin wrote in The Inquirer, a collection of revolutionary essays on morals and politics. This book influenced Thomas Malthus to write his Essay on Population, published in 1798. Malthus’ book suggested to Charles Darwin a point of view upon which he devoted many years of his life, resulting, in 1859, in the publication of The Origin of Species,—the most influential book of the nineteenth century, a book that upset science and created debates between creationists and evolutionist that are ongoing today. These were but three links of influence extending over sixty years. Regardless of ones perspective on positive or negative there was influence. It might be possible to trace this genealogy of influence back from Godwin, through generation and generation, to the word or act of some shepherd in early Britain, watching his flock upon the hills, living his quiet life, and dying with the thought that he had done nothing to help the world.”
That said about influence, and we are sure we’re in the proper positive influence mindset, we should ask straight up, why? “What is the reason behind your refusal to see the value of my profit opportunity, Mr./Ms. Customer?”
I’ve asked this question more than a few times in my 50 years of sales leadership. Sometimes it comes down to a deep relationship with another vendor which the customer feels is a celebrated partner. I respect that and back off however, I continue to be in touch with email newsletters like Mentorship Moment and an occasional invitation for a cup of coffee to add value and show I am deeply interested in my customer’s success. Over time the current celebrated partner fades away through career pivot or takes the relationship for granted opening the door of opportunity for me to re-engage with the customer.
Of course there is great joy when with a little encouragement, you see someone move towards their potential immediately my with your profit opportunity presented by taking action with a purchase order! That unexpected movement due to my influence empowers me and makes it worth it!