Do Unto Others

24 Sep

I find it interesting when someone else is trying to sell me, either as a consumer or executive. The shoe is on the other foot! Even as I’m concentrating on what they’re saying to me, a part of me is critiquing how well they’re selling to me, how they handle objections, how they follow through on commitments and when they try their first trial close on me. And if my wife is with me, it’s even more interesting to see them try to discern who the final decision maker is!

I’ve found that two traits serve me well as a salesperson – one is putting myself in the buyer’s shoes to understand what’s motivating them to consider this sale. (also good for effective negotiation) The other is the biblical “…do unto others as you would have them do unto you…” I would hope and expect that people selling to me would exhibit the same traits.

A recent article by John Quelch in Harvard Business Online takes this further by outlining what he considers are the five traits that make a good customer – be demanding but also respectful. Be reliable but also engaging and surprising. He summarizes by saying the customers that exhibit these traits to a vendor are higher up on the priority pecking order. I wish this was true – unfortunately it’s usually the squeaky-wheel customer or 80%-of-this-quarter’s-sales customer that gets to the top of line. But I do wish it!

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