Sales Lessons and Pillow Talk

"Prospective Customers Don’t Always Know What They Need"

For a long time, I used a contour bed pillow and thought it was great. It solved an issue of being more comfortable for my head and neck. The problem over time though became that I could never flip it over, like a standard pillow. I couldn't fluff it.

The funny thing was that I didn’t know I wanted to flip it over. It stayed stationary, other than the pillow case getting changed – it was just there. It seemed fine.

Then I bought a new pillow – not because I needed one, but because it was packaged well and looked interesting. It has “memory foam micro cushions”  It said in the marketing materials:

This pillow gently molds and conforms to your head and neck providing pressure relieving support while remaining workable for those who like to fold and fluff.

Who knew I was a fluffer? Yes, I discovered with my new pillows that I do like to fluff and I don’t like an unmovable contoured pillow. It is ten times more comfortable for me. But I THOUGHT I had the right solution already.

Prospects and clients are like this, aren’t they? Two things stand out for me:

1)    People don’t always know what they need or what will make their situation better, so asking them won’t give you (or them) the answers – only by knowing the issues they face, through powerful questions and a strong understanding of their market sector.

2)     What appears to be an obvious answer is not always the right one. Many people would suggest a contoured pillow – they are wonderful for many people – just not the best choice for me. I sleep better now with my “memory foam micro cushions” instead of a solid piece of memory foam. Blanket solutions in sales are the same – they don’t work for everyone.

Instead of this pillow talk making you sleepy – think about how it can apply to your prospective customers and how you can help them build their business with your solutions.

Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies in selling.

Topics: B2B

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