As a sales leader, I’m consistently amazed at how much better the clients are at explaining the value of an offering. I’m a professional communicator but when I tell a story it pales in comparison . I just can’t have the level of impact that the same story has when a customer tells it. I was speaking with a client today about a project we are doing with them. The sales director had just installed and opened our app on his phone for the first time while we were on the call. I heard an audible interjection of “Wow!” on the other end of the line. I couldn’t let that pass. How many times does a client look at your product and say “Wow!”? I asked; “Something got your attention there, what was it?” He responded; “Well I opened up the xiQ ‘latest news’ feature for one of my target accounts and saw something interesting…” I pressed; “What was it and why was it interesting?” He continued; “Well, I know my target accounts very well and the fact that you have something I hadn’t heard about is the first thing. I probably would have found out about this eventually but having it real time right here is great.” I asked; “What was it? How does it help you?” He went on to explain that the first article he saw was about one of his major accounts. They had announced a $1B divestiture of their Canadian operation and were reinvesting it in the US operation. He told me how he had equipment installed all over this company and both the divestiture and reinvestment could be major opportunities for him. He actually had a meeting with that CIO the next day and was able to add this as a line item to his talking points. ‘Wow!’ indeed! I thought that was it, but he continued. “The next article says that this same company is expected to beat their earnings estimate. They are going to be profitable for the first time in years.” He explained to me how in his role he was responsible for constructing multi-million dollar proposals for this client which he had to justify to his management team. This information would not only impact how he structured the deal but how he pitched it internally. Knowledge in this case is very powerful indeed! As sales professionals, we have to take time to ask the questions and listen to the answers. I could have easily ignored his ‘wow’ and moved on with the call. I could have bustled on through my agenda and my packed day. That would have been a mistake. Instead now I have this great gem of a story that he shared with me. Not only did I feel pretty good about myself and the company for a few hours I now have a great story I can share with my team and my other prospects that really resonates. It resonates because it’s a real story and it’s personal. Take the time to let your customers tell you stories. You’ll be happy you did.
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