My friend, Charles Green, wrote a stunning article: Is Selling Too Hard, Maybe You’re Doing It Wrong. Make sure you read it.
His article caused me to start thinking about Resistance. We all encounter resistance from our customers, it seems the harder we push, the greater the customer’s resistance (for those students of physics, you will recognize the commercial application of Newton’s Third Law of Mechanics).
The more we want to sell, the more we want to reach out to pitch our products, the more it seems they resist. We try everything we can—inundating them with emails, constant prospecting calls. We employ the latest and greatest technologies to drive volume and velocity in our quest for someone to speak to.
Yet the resistance from customers continues to skyrocket! Last week, in a discussion with a client’s customers, they continued to echo what we hear all the time: “I won’t answer a phone call from anyone I don’t know, I leverage my email system and other tools to divert all the sales emails I get, All that sales people are interested in is pitching the products…….”
We all know the complaints, yet we are in an escalating battle for attention—all of which creates more and more resistance.
As I reflected on both Charlie’s article and the discussions about the skyrocketing resistance we face in reaching customers, my inner “Mr. Miyagi” emerged. I remembered some of the lessons I’ve had in Tae Kwon Do and Tai Chi.
Anyone who has done anything in any of the martial arts knows that we are much more effective when we use the momentum, motions, actions, and weight of the person to help us achieve our goal. Rather than resisting or pushing, we leverage their flow and energy to more effectively beat the opponent.
While, I don’t like the imagery of thinking of customers as opponents, fighting with them and defeating them; the concept of using our customer our customers’ interests, actions, motions, strategies, and initiatives as means of more effectively engaging them is tremendously appealing.
Just like in the martial arts, we know that brute force and strength doesn’t win, but brute force with our customers only drives resistance.
Instead, resistance is eliminated when we stop going “against” what the customer wants to do. When we focus on the things they are interested in, the concerns they have, we engage them far more easily—having little or no resistance.
This shift is actually easier than one would think. Our customers don’t care about our products, they don’t care about our long list of references and impressive accounts, they care about what they care about, their goals, opportunities to grow their business, opportunities to improve, even just getting more sanity in their lives.
If we engage customers in discussions about what they care about, there is no resistance.
Even more powerful is providing our customers the leadership, getting them to think about their businesses differently, helping them see new opportunities, is another opportunity to engage our customers differently.
The simple change in how we engage our customers is so powerful.