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What Do Our Customers “Owe” Us?


Someone wrote to me, somewhat earnestly, “We need to know the buyer has our best interests in mind…..”

As I reflected on this statement, similar statements came to mind: “The customer owes me a return call,” “I took the time to meet with them, why won’t they respond?”

I’m sure you have your own versions of these statements about what proper etiquette or behavior is, what we are owed by our customers.

Every once in a while, I have those same experiences. It’s frustrating. You have what you think is a great conversation, then the customer disappears, they never respond. When that happens, I’m confused, angry, upset. I wonder, “what happened?”

It happens to all of us, for good, bad, probably mostly unknown reasons.

But honestly, our customers owe us nothing!

It’s not their jobs to owe us anything! In some sense, any time they choose to invest in us, any feedback or responses, we get might be considered gifts, not entitlements.

Our challenge is that we have to earn every minute the customer chooses to invest in us. Those minutes they invest with us take them away from their responsibilities and their jobs.

If we aren’t creating value in every interaction with the customer, we are wasting their time.

Virtually every survey of customer opinions about sales reinforce this:

  • “They (sales) don’t understand me or my business!”
  • “They aren’t prepared when they meet with me.”
  • “They talk about what they want to talk about, not what I want to talk about.”
  • “They don’t know their products.”
  • “They waste my time!”
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A common issues most sales people face is getting in to see the customer. But, given the customer feedback, why should the customers let us in?

Some sales people might say, “But that isn’t fair, it isn’t polite human behavior…”

So what! Get over yourselves!

Ironically, when we do focus on earning every minute the customer invest in us, when we do seek to create value in every interaction, this issue rarely comes up.

Which causes one to wonder about the sales people saying, “We need to know the buyer has our best interests in mind…..”



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