If Your Customer Were Honest, Here’s What She’d Say

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What if your buyer could tell you how she really feels? What if she dropped the niceties and pulled no punches? What if she informed you about what you can do better in the future to earn more business? What if she actually expressed what frustrates her?  

Wouldn’t it be nice to know about these things before it’s too late?

 Dear Salesperson, I like you, your company, your service. I do. You’re nice, responsive, and ready when we need you.That said, I’m also exhausted by you, your company, your service. If we could fix a few things, we could work together for a long time to come; if we can’t, I don’t know that I have the patience to continue. This is less a rant and more a gentle warning. It’s not my intention to be curt, but because I have absolutely no time, I need to be direct. But I also want you to read through to the end because you’ll see that I’m proposing a few solutions, but first, please take some time to understand:
  • We have major initiatives as a company. They range from growth goals to onboarding employee challenges, retention issues and much more. As the Director of Marketing, we get invited to handle many problems for a variety of colleagues. Because we have limited bandwidth as a department, I need solution providers who help me solve problems, not salespeople who just want to shill product.
  • I’ve got major problems with my job. Am I going to hit my MQL numbers for the quarter? Are we going to get enough traffic at our major event next month? Where will we allocate budget for our biggest return? Turnover is high, I’m constantly hiring. These problems are my priority, not yours, but you need to be aware that I have much bigger issues at stake and I put tremendous value on people who can provide value and mitigate my risks.
  • I’m exhausted by your emails. My inbox is flooded with higher priority projects from my boss, my kids, and my colleagues. My phone is blowing up all day long. Your twenty emails and multiple text messages to transact a simple order is no longer tenable. My sanity is not worth a barrage of questions and follow-ups. I know you’re just trying to do your job but it’s preventing me from doing mine. Isn’t there a way we can eliminate at least some of this back-and-forth? It’s 2019.
  • I’m fatigued by your digital catalogs: I long ago stopped wanting your piles of printed catalogs so don’t send me your PDF’s piled with so many products that I might as well shop online and save myself your countless emails. I need a curated product experience specific to our unique DNA.
  • I’m out of time. I’m no longer just “busy,” I’m occupied. I’m in meetings from the minute I walk in the door until the minute I leave. When we schedule time together, it needs to work towards solving one of my problems. Value my time, I’ll value yours.
 

That being said, I think there are four things we can do to work better together in the future:

 
  1. Become more curious. Know our industry, know our businesses unique value in the market, know our competitive landscape, know our infrastructure, know my team. I know you know your business: factories and processes and product options, but I need you to discover how those things apply to our unique needs.
  2. Become a problem solver not a product pusher. Your tangible medium is important to us as a brand, we recognize its value but we need to know where to better deploy it to meet our objectives. You’re the expert: you do this for clients all the time. I need a clearer idea of how promotional products can drive revenue, aid in employee retention, motivate colleagues, inspire loyalty, and build tribal unity in my organization. I need you to help us see your product as a canvas for problem-solving.
  3. Become an analyst. I have a huge advertising budget and a small promotional products budget. I am constantly being questioned about the ROI on everything. Some of these categories are successful, some are deplorably inept, I need to know how your product can perform better, bring us a better ROI, redirect our advertising intention. In short, I need you to understand what we are trying to do as a whole so that we can see where the parts fit best. I need better advisers.
  4. Become more efficient: This purchasing process is cumbersome and wastes precious time and energy. From the time we talk about a project to billing, I need it to be problem free, systematic, and (if possible) silent, less obtrusive. I need a frictionless way to interact because if we can, I want to do more business with you, not less. But I can’t do more business with you if the business we are currently doing is frustrating.
I know we've worked together for some time but times have changed. Sometimes it seems like you are still selling like you were twenty years ago. I don't know your business, but I do hope that by giving you some perspective about mine -and where I'm struggling- will help.I hope you understand that the intent of this letter is to give you a few ideas and ask you to change, now, so that we can work better together, tomorrow. 

-Your Customer

 
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