It Should Be All About Them

In which we are reminded to focus on business issues rather than “products at a price” if we want to develop value-based relationships with our clients and prospects.


Unexpected voice mail from an employee we know at one of the banks we use:


"Hi, Nick, this is Susan Smith, I just wanted to touch base with you about some great rates we're offering on CDs and Money Market accounts. I've sent you an email. I hope all is well with the family. Take care."


Amazingly, I received an almost identical one from our account rep at a computer seller we use:


“Hi, Nick. Bob Fredericks. We’re offering some great prices on ABC computers until the end of the month. Please give me a call back at XXX-XXX-XXXX so we can talk.”


Their marketing departments or sales managers probably said, “Hey, we want to sell more X. We got a great price. Call all your customers and sell them more X.”


Hmmm. I’m wondering. Are these companies truly in the “sell products at a price” business? Or are they among those who complain that their customers buy primarily on price, don’t recognize their value added, and don’t return their calls?




If they wanted us to buy based on value rather than price, etc. etc., they would open their conversations by focusing on….. US, never mind what their marketing departments said.


For example: “Hi, Nick, Susan Smith. Remembering you work with banks, I’m wondering: How’s the financial crisis affecting your business and your cash position? Call me. I’d like to hear what you’re seeing and share ideas I’m hearing from other companies. 978-897-5665.”


Or: “Hi, Nick, Pat Fredericks. I’m wondering how the economy and recession are affecting you. I’d like to find a time to speak about your technology plans for 2009 and I’m happy to share some trends I’m seeing with consulting firms that are using new technology to reduce costs and stay close to clients. Please give me a call back at 978-897-5666 so we can talk.”


Are these perfect. Probably not. Are they more interesting? Absolutely! Why? They focus on …. the customer/client/buyer! They offer to share some value.


Can we, individual sales people, do this on our own if our marketing departments don’t provide ideas, trends, and other information to share? Yes. It takes some thought, and yes. And, if our businesses are anything other than “products at a price,” we must go beyond “what’s the price on X?” to “How are our clients using X to make more money?”


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