The pitfall of the wandering salesperson

If you are a salesperson and your organization provides you with a hammer for a product, it is obvious that you need customers who have nails.

But knowing your customer must have nails is not enough.

Without any more data or insight, you will go searching for your customer blindly, and to often find the first houses you approach have screws, not nails. These prospects need a screwdriver, not a hammer.

This is not your buyer. You have just wasted your time and this prospect’s time. And you have missed opportunities with customers who have nails and who are finding alternative solutions without yours, even if that means taking the back of a screwdriver to pound their nails into the wall.

When you do find customers with nails, without the right messaging, you may lose them to another hammer provider. You try selling them the hammer by acknowledging they have nails, but you ignore the picture frames they wish to see hanging on their walls. You disregard the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when your prospect has used the hammer to nail the décor on the walls that his or her spouse has been after them to hang for some time now. The hammer is not what they are buying. Your message must acknowledge what it is they are after.

Salespeople cannot provide value until they know who they are serving and the best way they can serve them. It is as simple — and yet complex — as that.