The primary attitudinal ingredients required for Customer Orientation are: -
Sensitivity – Genuine respect and concern for the person who seeks to buy my product or service. This arises out of a sense of relatedness and humility and the understanding that just like me everyone else is the centre of his or her universe. Sensitivity also calls for the ability to listen and experience the other person not only through his/her words but also through the energy level, body language, and mind state.
Understanding the ‘buying’ process – Two people coming in to buy the same product may be motivated to buy for totally different reasons. Experiencing the need of the customer as he/she experiences it requires high levels of creativity, and knowledge about the various elements that go into the buyer’s process.
Understanding the ‘selling’ process – This involves dropping all ‘selling’ techniques and responding to the buying process experienced, with the appropriate offering in terms of our product/service/time/attention/concern – whichever may be appropriate. Handled right, the buyer experiences not only the satisfaction of getting the product or service but also experiences a positive ‘buying’ transaction, that could often be the single most powerful differentiator between our offering and our competitor’s.
Passion – Unless I am convinced, and genuinely excited about what I have to offer, my energy level and body language will communicate it to the other, irrespective of the words I may use. Passion is the most powerful factor in motivating a positive response in another person. Just like a musician has to tune his instruments, we need to fine-tune our instruments of communication. These include our facility with the language, our facial expression and body language, and our attitude and sensitivity.
Enjoyment – Unless I enjoy every interaction with the other, I am not going to deliver excellence. No one has ever achieved excellence in any field without enjoying it. This involves being able to experience each situation with all my energy and attention and without bringing in ‘baggage’ from elsewhere. It also involves a certain detachment where I am watching myself like the actor observing, intensifying, and enhancing the character that he is creating on stage. This will help me to delink ‘human’ hierarchy from ‘functional’ hierarchy and not get negatively influenced by a transaction that does not go as I expect or desire.
Sales Management demands a deep understanding of the above processes and about the individual attitudes and team culture required to deliver these processes effectively and in a way that serves the overall objectives of the organization. It involves facilitating an environment that empowers people, integrates the team, generates continuous learning and growth, and offers a sense of adventure and fun. Such an environment can create a platform of “collaborating” rather than “competing” towards excellence.