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Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Customer: Introductory Post

What the Customer Wants You To Know by Ram Charan (Portfolio/The Penguin Group, 2007) reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D.

If my reviews of Go-Givers Sell More and Drive! make the point that focusing on your customer’s success first will create success for your company, then Ram Charan’s What the Customer Wants You to Know really drives that point home. What’s more, Charan, much vaunted author, speaker and former Harvard professor, offers a practical road map that radically transforms sales people from order takers (with more monopolized services) and hucksters into trusted ad visors and success partners for their customers. And with this new trusted-advisor status, value creation selling (VCS) professionals will move their pricing from commoditization to premium value pricing. BEWARE: The transformation from traditional sales to VCS requires an investment in money and time. VCS isn’t easy, but well worth the process—because it works and creates a collaborative, not competitive, relationship with the customer. VCS requires: Getting a much deeper knowledge of customer issues and problems; learning how the customer makes decisions (especially financial); helping customers drive revenue and increase margin; understanding your customer’s customer; and connecting sales with other key functions like finance, operations, and even legal. When you become a trusted advisor, you’re no longer a commodity dealer, but a success partner of your customer. That relationship drives your unique sales proposition and is a premium value for your customer.
This week I’ll be reviewing this book in depth.

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