Customer or Seller: Who Should Know Whom Better?

For many years, business has focused nearly entirely -- some might argue completely -- on the customer. Customer relationship management systems, contact managers, Rolodex systems (yep, they’re still around), notes on business cards, they are all designed to help facilitate a better focus on customers and prospects. These systems help sellers collect data about their customers, things like where they like to vacation, what colleges their kids go to, what their hobbies are. Why does that information make a difference when it comes to selling your product or service?

What’s “Sold” First?

You’ve got something to offer? That’s great. It meets people’s needs? Sure, but yours is not the only one that does. So, what is your most important first step? It isn’t what you’ve got to sell in the way of your product or service. It isn’t your better price. It’s not even your better service, as important as customer service is. You’ve definitely got to differentiate yourself from your competitors. But what is the most unique thing that you have in your arsenal that you can use to stand apart from competition and gain that all-important competitive edge? The answer is you.

What the Prospective Customer Needs First

We’ve all heard the saying, “People do business with people they like.” You’ve got to differentiate yourself, first by being liked, and second by being liked more than your competitors. Your initial efforts need to focus on letting customers and prospects get to know you. Don’t tout the kinds of industry-centered credentials; share your personality, and in doing so, you’ll provide a sense of your authenticity.

Use Your Customer Data to Share What Matters to Them

Depending on your target market, and what you know about them, share the kinds of qualifications and/or credentials that might interest them. For example, if you’re from the Midwest, which is known for its strong work ethic, let those customers with a similar background know you were raised with those beliefs and how that has played out in your career. This invites a personal discussion between two people of similar viewpoints and experiences before it invites a discussion between two potential business people.

I’ve never read or heard anyone say that people do business with businesses that they like. People do, in fact, do business with people they like. Who you are, and what you are, can be your most competitive edge.

Mike Muhney in a recognized expert in the field of relationship management. He is the co-founder and co-inventor of ACT!, the software product that created the entire Contact Management software category and is acknowledged as the catalyst that started the entire CRM (Customer Relationship Management) industry. Today, he is the CEO and co-founder of VIPorbit Software, creator of the Mobile Relationship Management category for users of smartphones and tablets, beginning with the iPhone and iPad. VIPorbit provides full-featured, affordable solutions to today’s mobile device user. VIPorbit can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store or

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