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June 14. 2014 3:44AM

Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Customers will let you know what you're doing right


 

All too often, we hear about the bad things. It's extremely easy to point out what's wrong and what needs to change. In business, your customers will certainly do the same. If you make a mistake, they won't hesitate to let you know. If there is something they don't like, you can bet you will hear about that as well. Feedback from customers is extremely valuable and should certainly be taken seriously.

But the opposite is also true. If something is going well, there is a good chance you'll know, but you may not necessarily be told. Most people tend to be willing to provide positive feedback if they feel someone is worthy of it. This week, I received feedback from a customer that truly blew me away. It was one of those rare moments where I paused and said to myself, "This is what it's all about."

I was on a call with one of the account executives on my team. We had a call scheduled with a prospect to discuss their business and strategy related to leadership development. The meeting took place via phone and a WebEx session. After we all dialed into to the conference line, we were doing introductions and discussing the agenda. Then, the customer stopped and said, "Chris, I need to give you some feedback." I wasn't sure where the conversation was going, but I was pleasantly surprised about what happened next.

The customer said, "The primary reason I am engaged and involved in this discussion is due to the sales approach she (the account executive) took. She completely blew me away with her research and understanding of our company, and I think it's important for you to know that. I consider myself a very savvy and educated buyer, and the approach she took is extremely unique. She not only did her homework on our company, she knew exactly what the key business drivers were for our orzza

zation and how Skillsoft was aligned. I just want you to know how truly impressed I was with her approach and the effort she put into understanding our company, before we ever spoke."

I was really impressed with this feedback and let the customer know that I sincerely appreciated him taking the time to share it. It was a real morale boost for the account executive, as it reinforced her approach and hard work was truly effective and having an impact.

The other great takeaway from the feedback was how sales professionals can truly differentiate themselves. Customers recognize, value and appreciate the type of approach that was taken and want to deal with sales people that truly understand their business and bring value to the conversation. All too often, people get lazy and take the easy way out. The approach used in this example takes a lot of time and effort. But as we were reminded, it's worth every minute.

Christopher Thompson (cthompson@catch22solutions.com) writes Closing the Deal weekly. Thompson is the vice president of sales and services for Leadership Solutions at Skillsoft, a Nashua-based provider of learning solutions. Visit Skillsoft on the web at skillsoft.com.



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