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A Letter From Your Customer

by Doug Davidoff | Jun 2, 2010 10:16:14 AM

Jill Konrath just released her newest book SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today's Frazzled Customers.  Jill was kind enough to provide me with an advance copy and I've just finished reading the book and it is one of the few books that clearly gets and addresses the issues of dealing with buyers in today's Drought.

I'll share a fuller review next month when my SmartCEO column comes out.  In the mean time, Jill has given me permission to share a portion of the book.  She shares a "letter from  your customer," that simply nails the psychology of buyers today.

Read it below - then digest it.

Dear Seller,

I have only a few minutes, but I understand you’re interested in selling me something.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty self-serving.

The truth is, you have no idea what my life is like.  You may think you do, but you don’t – and you need to if you’re going to get my business.

I got to the office early this morning so I could have some uninterrupted time to work on a project –something I can’t seem to squeeze into the normal business day.

By 9:00 a.m., all my good intentions were dashed when my boss asked me to drop everything in order to put together a head-count reduction plan.  Revenue slumped last quarter, and we need to cut costs.

Then Engineering informed me that our new product won’t be available for the upcoming trade show.  Sales will go ballistic when they hear this.  That’s the last thing I need to have happen.

Get the picture?  Welcome to my world of everyday chaos, where as hard as I try to make progress, I keep slipping further behind.  Right now I have at least 59 hours of work piled on my desk.  I have no idea when I’ll get it all done.

Did I mention email?  I get over 150 each day.  Then, add to that at least 30 phone calls from sellers just like you who’d “love to meet with me.”

In short, I have way to much to do, ever-increasing expectations, impossible deadlines, and constant interruptions from people wanting my attention.

Time is my most precious commodity, and I protect it at all costs.  I live with the status quo as long as I can – even if I’m not happy with it.  Why?  Because change creates more work and eats up my time.

Which gets us back to you.  In your well-intentioned but misguided attempts to turn me into a customer, you fail woefully to capture and keep my attention.  Let me be blunt:  I don’t care about your product, service or solution.

I quickly scan your e-mails and letters looking for any self-promotional talk that glorifies your offering or your company.  The minute it jumps out at me, you’re gone.  Zapped from my in-box or tossed into the trashcan.  Say it in your voice mail message and I delete you immediately.  Delete, delete, delete.

When you spend an entire meeting blathering about your unique methodologies, great technology or extraordinary service, my mind wanders to important tasks that need to get done.  Sure, I even occasionally check my Blackberry for messages while you’re speaking.  But you would too if you were in my position.

I’m not always like this.  Occasionally a savvy seller captures my attention, entices me to meet with them, shows me why I should change, and then makes it easy for me to work with them.

What are they doing?  They’re completely focused on my business and the impact they can have on it.  That’s what I care about – not their pitch.

If you focus on helping me achieve my objectives, I’ll listen to you all day long.  But you can’t rope me in with the good stuff, then slip back into that trash talk.  If so, you’re gonzo.

Make sense?  I hope so, because I’m late for a meeting, and while I’ve been writing this, the phone’s been ringing off the hook.

Best regards,
Your Customer


Excerpted from SNAP SELLING: SPEED UP SALES AND WIN MORE BUSINESS WITH TODAY"S FRAZZLED CUTOMERS by Jill Konrath by arrangement with Portfolio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright (c) Jill Konrath, 2010
What implications does this have on  your business and sales efforts?