The Heart of Successful Selling: Align Yourself with Your Customers’ Customers

Customer Food Chain Mapped OutThis morning, Daniele Moreschi asked me, “Do you have any tips on selling current clients more inventory?”

Daniele’s question inspired me to ask, “Why aren’t your customers’ customers buying more?”

Last week, Dave Brock fired up a fantastic conversation about “The Essence of Selling”or purpose of selling. At the core is revenue creation. I made the case in my previous post that without generating profitable income, sales has no purpose. But the purpose of selling is not the heart of selling.

We zero in on our customers’ needs. How can we help our customers increase their top and bottom lines? How can we help our customers be more productive and more efficient? What problems can we help our customers solve? How can we give our customers a competitive advantage? We present ROI and more. There are numerous facets we pull from our hats and purses to drive business. There is one question I believe should be at the heart of every B2B sales mission:

How do we impact our customers’ customers?

Your customers’ daily pursuit is just like yours; acquire new customers and maintain their existing customers. Your customer has a vision, mission and strategies to make this happen.

Maybe you don’t think you have an effect on their customers, but everything your client does or does not do affects their customers. When your prospect or client speaks with you, they’ve taken time away from their company’s mission critical tasks of creating and keeping customers. Your customer invests time in you because they believe you bring something to the table that helps them achieve their mission to acquire and keep customers.

If you want to get on your customer’s side of the table, connect your goods and services to improving their customer acquisition and customer retention.

What do you know about your customers’ customers? (Sorry for the tongue twister).  How long is your food chain and have you mapped it out?

We sold machine tools, a product at the beginning of a very long food chain. Machine tools are used to build other machinery and equipment. Our customers built equipment for a variety of industries including aircraft, automotive, medical, office furniture and hospital equipment manufacturers.

Aircraft builders sell to airlines that have passengers. Many of their passengers are business people traveling to see their customers. Passengers need reliable, affordable comfortable transportation. When business flyers do not arrive on time or they cannot work on the plane, a negative domino effect hits their customers. You’ve been there and felt the pain. Engineering planes to be more fuel efficient and faster without sacrificing comfort is an engineering feat. Adding features like WiFi, chargers for your devices and touch screens, more stuff to break, challenges reliability. Understanding these needs of our customers’ customers is where we can add the most value.

Our customers had a variety of compliance, safety and delivery requirements. Conflicts and incompatibilities with customers’ needs made my customers’ decision-making complex. Understanding their customers equipped us to help them overcome their challenges with optimal equipment purchases. By understanding their customers’ needs and helping them meet them, we were able to help them choose the right equipment. We made ourselves more valuable than features or ROI.

Perhaps your not selling anything quite so complex, but your customers’ needs and expectations are more complex and fragile than you think.

“The purpose of a business is to create a customer”’ – Peter Drucker

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” -Zig Ziglar

Do you know how your goods and services align with you customers’ customers?

Business People Putting a Puzzle Together

♦ Do you improve customer service?

♦ Do you improve Quality of Service?

♦ Do you help HR acquire the best talent?

♦ Do you improve inventory management?

♦ Do you improve delivery?

♦ Do you make billing a great customer experience?

♦ Do you increase lifetime customer value?

♦ Do you lengthen customer life cycles?

Help other people get more customers and keep their customers, and they will become your customers.