Do your clients want more from you?

Would you be surprised to learn that prospects want the same buying experience in their business lives as in their personal lives? I’m not. We all want a stellar customer experience, and we’re pissed when we don’t get it.

B2B customers are just louder about it. Everyone complains about their cell phone providers, their utilities companies, and their myriad of unpleasant shopping experiences. We’re not shy about tweeting our displeasure for the world to see. Or blogging about it.

I just cancelled a shipping order with Office Depot for a standard metal filing cabinet. Nothing fancy, just a damn filing cabinet that I can get anyplace, but I certainly won’t be getting it there. I thought I had successfully changed the shipping date—until I got an email confirming the original date. Two phone calls later, with people promising to notify their transportation people and promising to call me, no one called. When the last guy offered to write to the same people and couldn’t find a record of my previous conversations, I’d had it. I told him to cancel my purchase and refund my money. Done. (I hope.)

I’m sure you could “fill in the blank” for any number of retailers, and when you have a bad customer experience, you feel the need to tell people about it.

What happens in B2B companies when a salesperson pitches strangers on social media, when customer service takes hours to respond, or when the solution didn’t work as promised? We tell lots of people to steer clear. If we’re a prospect, we go dark. If we’re a client, we demand a refund of some kind, and we won’t do business with that company again. Ever.

So, is your company providing that stellar experience? Check out these posts from No More Cold Calling this month.

Why Customer Experience Should Be Top of Mind for Sales Leaders

In her Sales 3.0 presentation, “Customer Experience Is the New Battleground,” Tiffani Bova told us customers will remember the experience they had with a brand (or person) much longer than the price they paid.

My favorite quote from the presentation: “We need to get to the future before our customers do and welcome them when they arrive.”

Tiffani reminded us that growth is getting harder and customers are smarter. Therefore, what differentiates us is creating a compelling experience that buyers will remember. It’s delivering the moment of “wow.” Bottom line: Customer experience is the great competitive differentiator. Need proof? (Read “Why Customer Experience Should Be Top of Mind for Sales Leaders.”)

Stop Overlooking This if You Really Want Qualified Leads

It’s an epidemic. Every sales exec says they need more leads in the pipe. That’s a prospecting problem that hasn’t changed in decades and won’t anytime soon. What these sales execs don’t say is they need more qualified leads. Why do they always leave out the word “qualified”? I have a few guesses, but whatever the reason, they hedge their bets and don’t make their reps accountable for generating qualified leads. Then they wonder why their teams can’t close, or why reps spend all day cold calling and rarely ever get a bite. Why? Because they’re overlooking something fundamental.

You know who doesn’t have to cold call or struggle to close deals? Referral sellers. (Read “Stop Overlooking This if You Really Want Qualified Leads.”)

Surprise! All Intuition Isn’t the Same

“Darn, I wish I’d trusted my gut.” I won’t even try to count the times I’ve said that. Eventually, most of us learn that trusting our gut makes sense—which is a non sequitur, because making sense is not intuitive.

Making sense is systematic and sequential, and intuition is the opposite. It’s a feeling. Everyone has intuition, but what distinguishes intuitive people is that they listen to, rather than ignore, the guidance of their gut feelings.

Intuition is housed in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. That’s the part of the brain that remembers when you have been burned by certain decisions in the past, and makes you fear making the same mistake twice. (Read “Surprise! All Intuition Isn’t the Same.”)

Leaders Without Moral Courage Let Their Employees Down

Our pace is too frenetic. We take shortcuts when we know we shouldn’t. We’re conflicted whether to stay in a job we don’t like or jump ship. We want to spend more time with our families, to exercise more, to be happy … really happy. All of that’s tough to achieve today, especially if our managers are constantly pushing us to do more, to work later, and to be available around the clock.

What we need are managers who understand us, who tell the truth, who don’t beat us up, and who give us time to think and stay true to our values. Have you ever had a manager like that? I did, once.

The fact is that managers who possess these qualities, embrace humility, and demonstrate moral courage are more likely to be trusted. And they’re definitely more effective. But they’re also in short supply. (Read “Leaders Without Moral Courage Let Their Employees Down.”)

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