They are holistic, fluid conversations between you, the business development and/or sales professional, and the world of your customer.
If you truly pay attention to your sales dialogues, from the perspective of your customers, they may sound completely self-serving.
There is no I and Thou involved at all. Your sales dialogue is all about “I” and not at all about “Thou.”
Martin Buber’s I and Thou is a philosophy about how personal dialogue can define the nature of reality. Buber perceives humanity by how we engage each other in dialogue and how we interact and engage with the world and with God.
I and Thou doesn’t sound a bit like your sales training scripts, does it?
Martin Buber felt that human beings (who might also be business and sales people, marketers, engineers and, well, Everyone) choose to select one of two attitudes toward the world: I-Thou or I-It. I-Thou is focuses on mutuality and reciprocity. I-It is about separation and detachment.
How many of you are so focused on “I” when you allegedly interact with customers, that you completely detach from “Thou”, the folks with whom you want to do business?
Each glorious day, you and I are given multiple opportunities to engage with individuals in a variety of environments which comprise our world-view.
How many times do you utter “I” during the course of your sales dialogues?
Have you considered that your sales spiel sounds more like a monologue than a dialogue to your customers? Your customers feel you are talking at them, not sharing a fluid conversation with them.
There’s nothing personal, or personable, in that type of conversation. Your sales dialogues leverage how you initiate, create and maintain enduring value for your customers.
When your sales dialogues are all about You, or the “I” in your world, you leave very little opportunity for your customers’ “Thou.”
Think about your prospecting emails and voice mails. These sales tools easily objectify the person they are sent to: the customer becomes an “It.”
How have your sales dialogues shut your customers out by turning them into “It”?
Over the course of the following week, record the number of times you utter the word “I.” What is the true opportunity cost?
The frequency of “I” in your sales dialogues will far outpace the “Thou” aspect, I’m sensing.
My advice: focus your time and energy on sales dialogues involving your customers in their own “Thou”- their industry, economic ecosystem, values, ethics and philosophy towards business and, well, life.
The “Thou” part of what you bring to your customers’ business tables potentially is far more enriching than anything you currently imagine.
Will you make that leap of faith?
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps companies, startups and family-owned businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. She and her clients co-create Playbooks, resulting in more productive, profitable and healthy organizations. Her Playbook on collaboration and leadership strategies and tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.
Image courtesy of Corina Rosu, 123rf.com