0817Header blog

Why Isn’t Your Customer More Responsive?

The Situation

Penny is really excited. She sells security systems for businesses, and her firm is introducing an advanced 3-D facial recognition feature that her customers can add to their security systems.

Penny has been calling all of her clients, including Arthur, who is responsible for security at a financial organization.

Penny: . . . I thought you would want to know about this exciting advance we can offer you.
Arthur: It does sound kind of unbelievable . . . almost out of a spy movie.
Penny: So, I thought I could drop by and show you how it could work for you.
Arthur: You know, we are very happy with the system you installed.
Penny: But you are due for a review soon, anyway. This could fit in great!
Arthur: Well, do you have other customers who are using it?  What if someone wears a hat . . . or glasses . . . or they grow a beard?  Have the bugs been worked out?
Penny: Arthur, no problem. This system matches 80 facial characteristics, and I think it’s perfect for your —
Arthur: — Why don’t you send me a web link or a video, and I’ll think it over. You know, there’s a lot more at stake with security in the banking world.

Can’t Get to First Base

Penny senses that it will be a long time before Arthur purchases the system, but she’s frustrated because she thinks it’s just what the customer needs.

What part of an effective, collaborative Q4 sales call is Penny overlooking? What would have helped her get further with Arthur?

Every Customer Is Unique

It’s good for Penny to alert her customers about an exciting new feature. However, Q4 needs-based selling means approaching each customer or prospect individually to determine his/her receptivity to what is being offered.


In this case, Penny wades right in, almost assuming this customer will share her excitement. But whether she knows Arthur well or not, she should be alert to the behavior she sees in this — and every — customer conversation. In this case, Arthur is showing Q2 reluctance to try new things or, perhaps more important, for being an early adopter or innovator. Q2 behavior avoids that kind of risk.


Adjusting for Q2 Reluctance

For Q2, receptivity plummets if there’s any sense that the salesperson is jumping ahead and trying to maneuver the customer into buying something. In this case, Penny’s motives may be pure — she is genuinely excited to bring this innovation to her customers. However, for Arthur, she should try a far different approach. Safety and reliability are the key elements he’ll be drawn to.


With a Q2 customer, Penny should proceed much more slowly. She might start by simply mentioning the facial ID system in an e-mail, sharing a link to some information. If she doesn’t have other customers to turn to for testimonials, she should gather examples in which other financial organizations have inaugurated the new system. Better yet, finding some positive, independent stats would show her system is reliable.


Stop Selling and Start Educating

This all means that, at the beginning of the conversation, selling should take a backseat to educating the Q2 customer. When Arthur’s comfort level and receptivity are higher, she will have a much better chance of convincing him that this innovation is the future of security.


With all customers, remember to size up behavior and receptivity, and then tailor your approach to fit that person’s specific intangible needs.