Although companies manage their businesses along three leading strategies, they usually select one primary strategy to drive revenue and gross margin: (1) operational excellence (low cost manufacturing), (2) technology leadership, and (3) customer intimacy. Many businesses do not have the resources to build the operational scale to beat their competition on price and gain market share. Others do not have the patent protection, know-how, or trade secrets to drive on a technology leadership strategy, nor the high product demand as Honda did in 1988 as advertised in its TV commercial: The car that sells itself. In most cases, businesses choose customer intimacy as their primary strategy to sell their products and services.
Unfortunately, the barriers to entry are typically low in those industries where the majority of companies are driving on a customer intimacy model. This model can also be the most challenging strategy to execute well, because it involves one person saying “yes” to another based on several factors: prior buying habits, approvals, service quality, ease of doing business, and the personal attributes of the salesperson. The success of the customer intimacy strategy can be unpredictable, because it involves a buyer and a seller, who may have different worldviews, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that work together to influence their relationship. Salespeople, who are fully aware of how they “show up,” have a leg up over their competitors because of their ability to make better decisions in how to influence the sales relationship.
Companies that drive on technology and manufacturing differentiators readily invest in research and capital. What do companies invest in that drive on the customer intimacy model? How often are they investing in the employees who are routinely interacting with customers? In my experience, few companies are investing in their sales and customer service teams outside of the technical knowledge of the product portfolio.
Each sales person brings a unique worldview, skills, competencies, knowledge, attitude, and behaviors that work together to leave a strong customer impression. A professional coach can partner with a sales person or team to do a deep dive into each of these areas that affect customer intimacy and build an effective platform and sales presence by which to cultivate and deepen customer relations. Ask me how!
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in business development and leadership. She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates specific workshops that address her clients’ business needs. Reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help.