Stop Being a Product Jockey and Think Like Your Customer

    May 27, 2015

    Stop Being a Product Jockey and Think Like Your CustomerThere’s a big difference between a strategic sales pro and a product jockey. Product jockeys wear what they are selling like a name tag, pitching the same list of benefits to anyone who will listen. They operate under the assumption that the more people they talk to, the more deals they will close. While this approach can yield some success, operating with this type of mindset won’t help you close the types of game-changing deals that truly advance the fortunes of a company--and make a salesperson’s career. The secret to elevating your game beyond that of a product jockey is to start thinking like your customers. Here are three steps to help you get there.

    1. Understand Your Customer

    Before engaging in a conversation with a prospect you should do your homework. Gather as much information as you can about them, their company--and what they might be focused on. Also consider the context in which they are operating. Is the company in the process of a merger? Have they had any major executive turnover recently? Are they in the midst of a round of layoffs? Or are they hiring like crazy? Not knowing the answers to these basic questions means you’re going in blind--not a good place to be.

    2. Ask Relevant Questions

    Before you start lobbing product details and benefits at a prospect you have to know what they are thinking. By turning the conversation from primarily a talking to a listening one, you can engage your prospect by getting them to open up about what is important to them. Carefully crafted questions will result in illuminating answers that will guide the conversation toward the appropriate product benefits for that particular prospect.

    3. Build Relationships

    The biggest difference between a true sales pro and a product jockey is the depth of their customer relationships. Product jockeys see each lead through a sales lens and approach each prospect with the same pitch. While following a successful sales process is important, it is more important to tailor your approach and talking points to the needs of each individual customer. What will resonate for some prospects might completely turn off others. Most importantly, with relationship building comes trust, which to some customers, is even more important than price.

    By deepening your understanding of your prospect, their company, and their unique business position, you increase your chance of winning their business. Leave the dart throwing to low-lit bars and craft a precision selling strategy that will increase your closing ratio and create loyal customers who think you bring much more to the table than a list of product features.

    For help understanding your prospect before picking up the phone, look them up in our database and download their detailed profile to learn about their personal and business motivations and needs.

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    Sharon Gillenwater

    About the Author

    Sharon Gillenwater

    Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders, which maintains an extensive database of the most in-depth executive profiles on the market, from Fortune 500 companies to independent non-profits, to help sales and marketing professionals build deeper relationships and close more deals with clients. Gillenwater is a long-time marketing consultant with expertise in marketing strategy, account-based marketing, and CXO engagement programs.