Experience is marketing

I used to work for someone who claimed proudly that he knew almost nothing about our product and he certainly wouldn’t use our products. He would even speak derogatorily of those who did. With pride he’d say, “I’m a businessman, I don’t need to know about a product to sell it.”

Of course there’s quite a parcel of truth in his arrogance: your estate agent didn’t live in your house before you bought it and Dr John Davis doesn’t really know what childbirth is like. But we all want our salespeople to be empathetic, don’t we? We demand advice and expertise and the only real way of gaining that is through experience.

Just how our teams communicate that to customers is as much a marketing issue as website copy or advertising budgets. And it might be worth reminding them that ‘do what I say, not what I do’ is even more unpalatable now than it was as a child. Would you take health advice from an obese, alcoholic, chain-smoker?

2 Responses to “Experience is marketing”

  1. Markytee March 23, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    Empathy – done well – is one of the key elements when making the proposition an attractive one. Done badly, however, it just stinks of cheese and loses the salesman, and the company he/she represents, credibility.

    Understanding the mindframe of the purchase, the decision-making process and the journey that got someone to that point in the first place gives the salesperson a step advantage. If they can enhance their offering by playing the role of the maven and the connector as well as that of the salesperson (The Tipping Point, Gladwell, 2000), they’ll effectively seal the deal, because the decision to buy is hugely enhanced by the value-add that the salesperson brings to the table, as it offers an insight into the journey onwards from the buying process.

  2. nick March 24, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    Malcolm Gladwell quotes in the comments! Readership must be on the rise.

    Empathy is surely the magic dust that allows the crossover from service to sales. Without it the two philosophies remain poles apart. Thanks for the input, Mark.

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