Archive | August, 2012

Attitude – Livin’ The Dream with a nod to Jack Nicholson

23 Aug

Had a visit from Tom the Plumber yesterday.  I’ve known Tom for years, we were both involved with youth football years ago.  He asked me, “How’s it going?”  … I had been online with work when he arrived, and I was a bit preoccupied, so I hesitated in my response.  After a pause he said “Living the dream, huh?”

Later in the day, I had a long convo with a friend, talking about college loans that he may never be able to completely pay off.   I had a less than fulfilling webmeeting with a customer.  I had a long father/son chat with my youngest when he got home around 11:00, I finished the day online with our support organization in Bangalore, and a customer in Australia at about 12:30 AM.

There was a time when I would think of the seminal moment in Jack Nicholson’s movie, “As Good As It Gets” where his character, the OCD Melvin Udall,  says to a group of depressed patients in the waiting room of  his psychiatrist “What if this is as good as it gets?”  I used to love that line, especially when I was feeling sorry for myself ….

… but you know what?  I AM LIVING THE DREAM.

As I said to my son last night, It IS all about attitude.  It is about how you deal with what you can’t control.

Is my job challenging, even overwhelming at times?  Hell, yeah!

Are the weeds threatening to take over my lawn? most definitely!

Are the everyday challenges of  life and relationships sometimes daunting? sure thing.

Do I get everything right the first time?  puh-leeeze!

Does the upstairs toilet still leak? Uh, no (thanks, Tom)

This IS living the dream, gainfully employed, challenged, winning some, losing some, with a loving family, in a great country.

Can’t complain.

– RTR

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The Customer Is What?

15 Aug

Just don’t have ANY TIME for blogging lately.  Too busy, too busy, TOO BUSY!!

So, by way of apology, this blog is commenting on a two-week old blog from Harvard Business Review, with the grabber title “If the Customer is Always Right, You’re in Trouble”.  Being in the Client Support Biz, I had to check it out, because, well, my customers ARE always right, aren’t they?

Turns out, the blog is not about customer service at all, it is about “the death of Solution Selling”.  Well, having spent the better part of 20 years selling (if you can call that better) I not only have had Solution Selling training, but also smatterings of Gitomer, Sandler, and, of course, both learning and teaching Dale Carnegie Sales Advantage.  NOW you’ve got my attention, HBR!

So what is this “death of Solution Selling” all about?  This blog describes, in gory detail, how the tenets of Solution Selling just don’t apply anymore:

“Across the last five years, however, we’ve observed both in our data and our conversations with sales leaders around the world a dramatic drop in the efficacy of this [solution selling] approach. In a survey of several thousand B2B customers conducted by our company, CEB, we found that B2B customers were nearly 60% of the way through a typical purchase before they reached out to a sales rep for input. More often than not, the hard reality is that customers have begun the buying long before suppliers have begun the selling. So by the time a supplier is called in, there’s no need to discover needs at all. By and large, customers (believe they) have figured everything out…

… For most companies, the biggest competitor today isn’t the competition, it’s customers’ ability to learn on their own.”

So, what is the answer?

According to HBR, there are two questions that most suppliers overlook:

“First, where do your customers learn? Is it on the Internet? In online communities? From third parties (and if so, where do those third parties themselves learn)?

Second, do you teach customers something new and important about their business that they cannot learn on their own? Because if your biggest competitor is the customer’s ability to learn, then that’s what you’ll need to do to win.”

So there you have it.  It’s not good enough to ask the right questions and get to the ‘C’ suite.  If you are not a Subject Matter Expert that can, in fact, become a Trusted Advisor and “teach your customer something new and important”, you may as well  just sharpen your pencil, because in the sea of look-alikes, it always comes down to price.

– RTR