What is True Customer Obsession?

Customer service is so yesterday. Anyone can provide service – it’s table stakes. To truly stand out today, a coin has been termed entitled “customer obsession.” But what is it? Are those people and organizations that claim to be customer obsessed truly so? Let’s examine:
“Customer obsession” is a great terminology. If executed properly, it is supremely beneficial for all related parties. A powerful relationship between an organization and its buyers transcends the transaction: it becomes a partnership in the truest sense of the word. The truly customer-obsessed organization is looking for ways to take that partnership to another or new level – how these entities who exchange goods, services, knowledge share and the like can find additional synergies and create new potential paths to mutual revenue streams and growth.
True customer service and obsession is not as prevalent as some might hope, because despite the mantra or motivation, something falls flat in execution. This makes it all the more important to truly partner in a respectful, two-way collaboration that not only fosters great ideas and strategy but ability to execute, to pivot, evolve, adapt and address concerns effectively.
Be Present. Be available, be truly there, open arms, working proactively to forge a relationship. Anyone can prospect or call on an organization – what unique value do you and your organization bring? What new ways can you potentially view the potential for the partnership, that differ from what this customer has heard before? Focus on starting new conversations. Differentiate yourself from the herd of other sellers and other sales organizations and find a unique common ground. It will garner a different type of reception when reception transpires. And be persistent but targeted with your targeted outreach and your delivery of message; it’s important to grow and scale at the right pace so you have bandwidth to serve.
Listen. Once you are at the table, it’s important to have a conversation to uncover a few things – where can you add value? What gaps exist for this potential client? What are their priorities, pain points and projects that make sense for you to address? Get to the table by talking about the things that matter to them. Once you’ve earned your seat at the table and you’ve brought value to them, you can talk about what matters to you. There is no better way to make it there than upfront positioning of unique value to them, arriving to uncover what matters to your prospect, and delivering. Always hear them out. Even when you may not be able to help them, even when your solution may not be the answer; your goal is to become a trusted advisor so that they are turning to you when they need help.
Be Responsive. Customers have chosen to do business with me in the past because I was quick to respond; even if I was not the answer man, I quickly replied and pulled in the right folks. Even if I did not get the answer right away or even quickly, I was regularly in communication and they could see the efforts I was making to secure responses or numbers or resources. Communication is the most important piece of any relationship – while there are always ways to improve our communication and make it more effective and productive, your willingness and ability to communicate and be responsive so others are able to depend on you is a unique value that will absolutely differentiate you from the pack. This is not just in the early-going when you’re trying to earn their business – it’s always. Even if you don’t perceive an immediate benefit to the response, you never know how your responsiveness or lack thereof can influence and impact that relationship, other related relationships or relationships and scenarios to come. Fall off the map after you’ve sold someone, and you may miss out on future opportunities, referrals, or situations where the people you worked with move on and you could have impacted another organization. Make time to respond!
Remove obstacles. In any relationship of the sales food chain, your responsibility to the link next to you is to remove barriers that exist in the partnership. Someone may be willing to give you or your organization a chance, and there is a modicum of leeway that exists for you to get it right and deliver on the proposed promises. There are only a certain number of missed deadlines or failures you’re allowed, if any, so you must be very much at the pulse of what’s transpiring in the relationship. Customer obsession means being very attuned to the situation and satisfaction level existing between your parties. Remove barriers to getting a deal done. Remove blockers that exist – red tape in your organization, which often means you’re the one serving the role of conduit to your greater organization and pulling the necessary levers and leveraging the right parties. You may have multiple roles or facets of your organization touching a customer – someone has to be the orchestrator and the face to the client and customer obsession may dictate you’re it. Keeps things simpler for the client so they can work through you, but it may mean you are working very hard to tie all of the pieces of your business together. Any way you slice it, if you are customer obsessed, you are looking for ways to address the inevitable challenges that arise in the relationship swiftly, respectfully and thoroughly. Your ability to do so will enhance the partnership and their perception of you as their advocate.
Be Part of the Plan. Where are they taking their business? What areas can you identify where you and your organization can add value? The more you focus on the holistic approach rather than getting caught up in the deal, the more likely you’ll be a longtime valued partner. The more you know about their business, even if it’s not pertinent today for a deal you’d like to get done, it may help you serve as a connector with other folks you know who can aid them, it may inform future conversations and it may open up possibilities you had not previously considered.
Customer obsession is making the customer the center of your world. It’s focusing intensely on what matters to your audience and staying focused on it through the passage of time and challenges and wins and losses. It’s one thing to say you’re customer obsessed and quite another to live it through dedication to the partnership. Are you customer obsessed?
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Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” and sequels “The Salesman Against the World” and “A Salesman Forever” which take the unique approach of serving as sales/leadership books inside of novels showing proven sales principles designed to birth you into the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRVMI2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_yGXKtb0G
Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.
Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carson-V-Heady/125078150858064?ref=hl , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at cvheady007@yahoo.com or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page: https://carsonvheady.wordpress.com/the-home-of-birth-of-a-salesman-2010-published-by-world-audience-inc-and-the-salesman-against-the-world-2014/

About cvheady007

I am a Christian, Husband, Dad, workaholic and author. Biography Carson Vincent Heady was born in Cape Girardeau, MO, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and moved to St. Louis in 2001. He has served in sales and leadership across Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Carson is best-selling author of the Birth of a Salesman series, the first book of which was published by World Audience Inc. in 2010. He released The Salesman Against the World in 2014, A Salesman Forever in 2016 and Salesman on Fire in 2020. He is also featured in Scott Ingram’s B2B Sales Mentors: 20 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals. Carson is a 7-time CEO/President’s Club winner across 5 roles at AT&T and Microsoft and National Verizon Rockstar winner. He has been recognized as a top social seller at Microsoft and is consistently ranked in the top 25 sales gurus in the world on Rise Global. He is included among the Top 50 sales authors on LinkedIn. With over 330K social followers, Carson has also been interviewed on over 30 sales and leadership podcasts, by such luminaries as Jeffrey & Jennifer Gitomer, Jeb Blount, Brandon Bornancin, Sam Dunning, Larry Levine, Darrell Amy, Scott Ingram, Thierry van Herwijnen, Jim Brown, Sam Jacobs, Luigi Prestinenzi, Donald Kelly, Marylou Tyler, George Leith, Pat Helmer, Eric Nelson, Ron Tunick, Jeff Arthur, Mary Ann Samedi, Jean Oursler, Andre Harrell, Marlene Chism, Bill Crespo, Matt Tanguay, Josh Wheeler and Chad Bostick. He has also co-hosted the Smart Biz Show on EG Marketing Radio. His articles have appeared in several noteworthy publications such as SalesGravy, Smash! Sales, Salesopedia and the Baylor Sports Department S3 Report. Carson lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife Amy and daughters Madison, Sidonia and Charlotte.
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