I’ve been feeling more like a business psychologist recently than a sales and marketing consultant. I get called into find why their products aren’t selling and to recommend a solution.
The client assumes it has to do with the customer or how they are approaching them. More and more I am finding that the client is the problem. No matter how brilliant a sales and marketing solution I develop, it will be less effective because of the client.
I tell them to fix themselves first if they want the most cost effective solution. A new website, app or social media campaign is a waste of money if the client has these issues.
1. Dissociative Disorder.
Or let’s work against each other and disassociate ourselves from the customer. I had a client who signed up a number of new dealer customers per year only to lose the same number each year. They couldn’t figure out why. After I interviewed a number of their dealers, I found that the dealers were impressed by the sales call. They really liked the brand and product.
The problems started when they placed their first orders. They found customer service to be anything but service oriented. Special requests were always met with a NO. Products arrived late and when they did, they frequently had been damaged in shipping.
This dysfunction commonly sneaks into larger companies where the head of each department is compensated based on how efficiently they run their department. Smart companies have customer satisfaction as part of the performance measures for each area.
You’d be surprised by how many leading building material brands suffer from. Dissociative Disorder.
2. Attention Deficit Disorder.
The leaders of many smaller building material companies are frequently visionaries. They were the ones who dreamed up the idea for their company in the first place. They build the company to a certain size and wonder why their growth has stalled.
It took a visionary to come up with the idea of an airplane but you would not want a visionary to run an airline. A visionary came up with the Nest thermostat, but he was smart enough to surround himself with people who were better at actually running and growing a company.
Visionaries are also farsighted so they have difficulty seeing things that are closer to them. The reasons everyone should love their product are so obvious to them that they don’t consider that their customers can’t see the same way they can.
Their ADD also causes them to jump from idea to idea so their staff has no idea where they are going. They also chase too many opportunities at once and frequently have no focus.
I have worked with several of these companies and most of them will always stay much smaller than they should.
3. Depression and Anxiety.
This can happen at both big and small companies, when they believe that a competitor is better than they are. Depression and anxiety also hits companies when they deal with large customers like big boxes and large builders.
With competitors they play the “if we only had” game. If we only had a marketing budget like the competition is one I frequently hear. If we only had innovative new products like they do, is another.
With large customers they go on sales calls with their tails between their legs expecting not to get the sale or to lose the customer. The customer reads his or her body language as “Loser” and no one wants to deal with a loser.
Acting like a therapist, I tell them to get over it. You are not them, you are you. Stop looking at what they have and look at what you have. I can always find something where they are better but they may discount it and keep feeling sorry for themselves.
Save your marketing money and get some therapy instead.
The cheapest and most effective thing these psychologically challenged companies can do is to make themselves better. Until they get better, most of their marketing investments are just band-aids. The types of band-aids that many agencies are happy to charge you for.