How do you spend your time?
According to Investopedia, “Mindshare is a marketing term that describes the amount of consumer awareness or popularity surrounding a particular product, idea, or company.”
I’d like you to think about your customers and prospects for a moment. More specifically, think about how they spend their time when going through the decision cycle for the solutions you offer. How much time, as a percentage of the total time they have, do you think they actually spend evaluating YOUR solution? In the last twenty years, we have asked this same question of thousand of salespeople. A few optimistic people will say 5 or 10 percent. However, the sales veterans know better. “If my customer spends 1 to 2 percent of his or her time thinking about my products,” one person said recently, “I would consider that I’ve really got his attention.” Most believe their customers spend less than 1%.
Here’s the problem. When most salespeople today talk about “focusing on the customer,” their well-intentioned plan is to determine what the customer needs. Furthermore, how can their solutions address those needs? Unfortunately, that’s not enough anymore. What’s more, I don’t really believe it ever has been. In fact, focusing on what your prospect or customer needs, or says she needs, can often take the salesperson on a long slow ride to the land of missed opportunities. This is where well-meaning salespeople work hard. However, they deliver little value to their prospects and earn little for the time they spend.
Mindshare: Focus On the Customer.
So what does it REALLY mean to focus on the customer? What’s the right approach? When we say you should focus on the customer, we mean that you should focus on what the customer is focused on. That may or may not be the problems and solutions you’ve got your eye on. But one thing is certain. Whatever your customer is focused on, it is not your products or solutions.
This is the painful but undeniable truth. As a B2B sales professional, you can’t afford to forget one simple matter. Your prospects spend a minuscule proportion of their time thinking about and evaluating your proposals. The only reason they spend any time at all doing this is that they believe there is at least the potential your products and/or services can have an impact on what they’re really thinking about: Their business vision, goals, plans, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, processes, people.
That’s right. Your customers may be spending 1% of their time actually dedicated to evaluating your particular solution. However, you can be absolutely certain they are spending the other 99% + of their time focused on their business. Ask yourself these questions. Do you know where they live? What keeps them awake at night? Are they launching any new products? What competitors are they battling? Have you considered the market conditions in which they operate? Unless you know the answers to these questions, 1% of their attention is not only all you’ll get, it’s all you’ll deserve.
What percentile are you?
So it’s your choice to be a part of the 1% or the 99%. The truth is, the percentage of mindshare you get from your customers will be directly proportional to the percentage of time you spend dedicated to understanding their business and finding ways in which you positively impact what they are trying to accomplish. The more you know about your customer’s business outside the realm of your products and services, and the greater the resulting impact, the more mindshare you’ll earn.
In this case, you can be certain I want to be a part of the 99%.