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If Your Customer Is Stupid, Then What Are You?

If Your Customer Is Stupid, Then What Are You? - Janice Mars, SalesLatitude

If Your Customer Is Stupid, Then What Are You? - Janice Mars, SalesLatitudeIf I could count the times I’ve heard a sales person say their customer is stupid (or something similar), then it’s too many times. My concern with the statement is multi-fold. It shows little to no respect for the individual. It shows no empathy or ability to put yourself in their shoes. And, unfortunately, more often than not, it comes out in your tone of voice. Do you see yourself in any of these scenarios?

No Respect or Empathy

You have goals and priorities. So do your customers. When you call them names, you obviously don’t respect them. Maybe they’re not returning your calls or confirming meetings because they are busy with other priorities, ensuring their success. Or, maybe they have trouble connecting with you because you’re not talking in their language (for example, you’re talking features and functions, and they’re interested in business outcomes). So, they see no need to talk to you (remember, people tend to talk to people who sound like them!).

But maybe they have something personal to tend to like a sick parent or child, or they’re ill or going through some other crisis. The point is, you have no clue and should have some respect or empathy instead of immediately assuming that your customer is stupid.

Unable to Put Yourself in Their Shoes

You think your customer is stupid because they will not engage. But maybe, just maybe, you’re trying to sell them something that you think will save them money or make them money. The problem is, it’s not at the top of their priority list at the moment. 

Do you even know their goals and priorities over a 1 to 3 year window? Do you know what they’re trying to accomplish and how they will be successful? Have you thought for a second that the problem may NOT be that your customer is stupid, but rather, that they’re just not interested at this time?

Perhaps their past experience was not the best. Did you or your predecessor sell them something in the past that did not work well for them? Do they believe your implementation is laden with risk? They may just have a reason not to like your products and services. There are any number of reasons why they’re just not talking to you.

But here’s another idea, since you are the expert: Did you provide them with some information or insight that actually helps them in some way? Maybe something they have not thought of?

Don’t be naïve. It’s not that your customer is stupid. The truth is, you must have a good reason to take time out of their busy day and it has to be beneficial to them (more than you!).

It’s All in Your Tone

When the sales team is always talking about how a customer is stupid, maybe you’ve all given them a derogatory nickname or snicker about them in group meetings when their name comes up. All harmless fun. But be aware that your tone may carry forward into your conversation with that “stupid customer” whether over the phone or in person. It’s just human nature, so just be careful and remember that there may be many reasons why they are not jumping to get back to you. 

Still Believe Your Customer is Stupid?

Your customer is most likely not stupid, or they never would not have gotten to where they are now in their careers. Always try to see your customer through their lens. The more you know about them and what will make them successful, the less stupid you’ll think they are. 

Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter


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