I love this quote from Tim Rethlake, Vice President Sales Enablement, Hearth and Home Technologies. (I also love his title!)
“Most sales onboarding programs are the new rep being taught by the old rep, who was taught by the dead rep.
Given that customers’ buying habits are always evolving, this is a bit of a disconnect, don’t you think?”
The same process also takes place in the marketing department and company leadership. We want new ideas as long as they fit with our old ideas.
Many building materials companies are focused on teaching history to their employees instead of trying to make history.
There are still customers who only care about price, use fax machines, don’t use social media and always go to trade shows. The problem is there are fewer of them every day.
It used to be much easier to put your customers in a box. A builder wants this. Contractors only care about that. This is how to reach and sell an architect.
These days, your customers are much more fragmented. They are split up by size, geography, the focus of their business, who they serve, their goals, their problems and more.
Each of these differences creates unique needs for them and opportunities for you.
There is no longer a one size fits all approach to dealing with customers. There are now customer segments such as roofing contractors who pursue many projects at a lower margin vs. roofing contractors who focus on higher-margin products and projects.
Or architects who are focused on multi-family and architects who specialize in healthcare. The same differences apply to dealers, distributors, big boxes and everyone else.
The more you understand these segments, the more you can focus on the ones that are best for you. You can then tailor your approach to win more of their business.
How will buying from you solve a problem for them or make them more successful? If you can figure this out and communicate it to them, the price of your product will be a lot less important.
Upholding the old ways of doing business is keeping you disconnected from your customers. If you want to stay connected to them, you need to keep up with the ways they’re changing.
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