Have you ever been in a situation where you have to make a decision and have done what research you can but realize that you really don’t know enough to make a knowledgeable choice?
(Photo credit: Paul Skeie)
For example, you might get asked by the auto mechanic if you want some work done and your knowledge of cars is limited to filling the gas tank. A doctor might give you choices about treatment options and while you might understand the plusses and minuses of each, in the back of your mind is a lingering thought that there must be some medical differences you don’t quite get.
When we’re in those situations, my thinking is that we wind up making one simple choice that’s the same in each case: do I trust the person with whom I’m dealing? Do I trust that the mechanic isn’t lying about the need to replace a valve spring since I can’t tell a good one from a bad one? Do I believe this dentist when he says I need to replace an old filling before it become a problem? In those cases we’re not buying the service – we’re buying the seller. We’re choosing to believe both that they have understood a problem you’re having and that they have the specific knowledge to solve it in the manner they’re describing. It’s a leap of faith.
That’s a critical business point that we often forget. When someone show up late to a meeting I trust them less. When their materials contain typos or hyperbole, I’m less willing to leap with them. Being successful in earning trust is a significant factor in a businesses overall success. That trust is what permits an occasional error (think of a restaurant you frequent that’s having a bad night due to missing servers, etc.). When your potential customers or clients or partners feel as if you have your own interest at heart and not theirs, you’re toast.
People buy the seller as much as they do the product. The more complex the decision, the more that holds true. What we need to do is to ask ourselves if we’re earning that trust or if we’re just pushing a product. What’s your answer?
I was speaking with Don Antonio this morning.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
He’s a media maven who’s an incredible resource to me both personally and professionally. We were chatting, as we do from time to time, about the state of affairs in digital media and the topic of pricing came up. One needn’t think very long about how buyers and sellers interact before the realization that there’s a horrible misalignment of goals out there. No, after 30+ years in the media business I’m not shocked that agencies want to buy things less expensively while sellers want to grow their revenues and maintain “rate card integrity.” But it feels different now – let me explain.
It’s always been about the client – the advertiser – and getting results. The problem now is that there’s no reasoning with a machine. Real time buying, trading desks, and other “innovations” just push down CPM’s (which is why a lot of premium sites won’t deal in this space). Meanwhile, a well thought out integrated promotion can’t get sold and activated because it doesn’t fit any models. Many newer buyers (and sellers) learn the tools but don’t understand the business.
Another thing. comScore in particular (they sell the software) and others in general are making a big thing about not counting digital ad exposures unless there’s proof the ad was in a visible part of the page. Nice idea – why pay for an ad that the user never saw even if it was displayed. The problem for me is this – no other medium is doing that. Oh sure – TV and radio can prove an ad ran – now let’s see the proof that even though the set was on someone was in the room and paying attention. Magazines do research this but I’m not sure it’s used in rate negotiation.
We’re racing to the bottom, as The Don put it. We use tools that drive down CPM’s and we impose delivery standards that make us work harder than any other medium to get paid. I know – complaining isn’t a pretty way to start the week, but what are we thinking? Your thoughts?
One of the first things you learn in sales is to believe in your own product. Some folks call it eating your own dog food but the basic idea is two-fold. First, if you’re going to foist something on a customer you should be willing to be that customer yourself. Second, it’s a great way to do usability testing and in sales, it helps you discover selling points that may not even have been designed into the product plan.
I’m a big fan of the process and was really impressed when I read about what I consider to be the ultimate instance of belief in a product: one that literally puts your life on the line. Continue reading