I recently was forwarded the above quote by Elizabeth Staed. When you are thinking about how your customers will win in 2023, you need to think about how those 7 words will cost money. Our customer’s world and our world are changing fast and there is not time for complacency in action or ideas. An example of the recent speed of change in the business world is to look at the ten biggest disruptions since I started at Good Karma Brands in 2000. Those events are:
- 2008-2009: Financial Crisis
- Spread of Covid-19
- Pandemic Lockdown
- Online content consumption and e-commerce explosion
- Heightened Social Unrest and Social Awareness
- January 6th, 2021: Capitol Riots
- Supply Chain Issues/Labor Shortage
- Work from home/hybrid work becomes the norm
- Highest inflation since 1982
During the first 20 years of my career, there were two significant disruptions while eight of these occurred within the last three years!
What does this mean for those of us in sales and marketing? Constant disruption creates new objectives for our customers and gives us the opportunity to present new solutions. The path to these new solutions should start with simple questions like:
· “What’s your biggest challenge?”
· “What’s most important to you now?”
· “How will you measure if this year was successful for you?”
These questions are great whether it’s your first meeting with a future customer or your 100th meeting with a long-time customer. The answer could be vastly different because of these disruptions.
Note: If the customer answers with, ”sales” or “finding employees” or “getting supplies” make sure you ask follow up questions such as, “what is the implication for you as it relates to these challenges?” For example, if they say they need 100 employees, ask what that means for the business when they find those 100 employees. Follow up questions are the key to helping current and future customers to do something different than they have done in the past. In addition, their responses will give you a better understanding of their business.