Last updated: Choices, customers have: Speak your customer’s language

Choices, customers have: Speak your customer’s language


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You are an aggressive, upwardly mobile sales person in that cool B2B company with the urban downtown snazzy office. You have friends that like you and superiors that are fans.

Everything seems to be going well.

Except there’s this wee little problem that you have trouble admitting: Your customers don’t get you. When you speak to them, you are frequently greeted by blank stares. You have a gnawing suspicion that it’s somehow your fault, but you have no idea how to fix it.

“Whrrraaargh. Wrahgh!!” – Chewbacca, Star Wars

It’s not wise to upset a Wookiee

Welcome to the Chewbacca Syndrome. It’s a well-known effect. It happens frequently to those who are completely neck deep in their company lingo (did I mention kool-aid?) and have a unilaterally inside-out view of the world.

The customer’s reality and the market situation might as well be on a disconnected parallel universe, for all the consideration you give it.

Here’s how your day typically goes:

  • Wake up, exercise, go to work
  • Read your company website for the latest updates
  • Check your company’s stock price
  • Chat with colleagues about the latest company gossip near the water cooler
  • Schedule an internal company training with your best buds from work
  • Call a customer just before heading out and leave her a voicemail about possibly catching up the following week, after some small talk involving her kids

Here’s how your day should go – if you want to escape the Chewbacca Syndrome:

  • Wake up, exercise, go to work
  • Read the news about industry updates for the customers you cover
  • Go through your Social Selling tools for news and updates on the leads you are following
  • Check your customers’ company stock prices
  • Attend an industry event where you learn insights about your customers’ world
  • Run into new customer stakeholders at above meeting, introduce yourself, and set up meetings

In other words, make your customer the center of your activities. Try to understand what business issues keep them up at night, what challenges they regularly experience, and ensure your narrative is firmly rooted to the customer’s vocabulary. In today’s world, not being customer centric is equal to career suicide.

Choices, customers have

Understand that customers have a lot of choices when it comes to their B2B vendor and purchase choices. Being informed and communicating using relevant industry language is the minimum bar to getting the kind of mindshare you are looking for.

It’s even harder when the customer already has a preconceived notion about your company from previous experiences. Your objective must be to get past any such hurdles (including mindblocks) to deliver your value proposition to the customer and demonstrate that the solution truly has what it takes to deliver value.

Listen well. Communicate in the customer’s business language. Be customer centric. And #MayTheForceBeWithYou.

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