“Are we there yet?”

By David Brock

David Brock is the Author of “Sales Manager Survival Guide,” CEO of Partners in EXCELLENCE and is a ruthless pragmatist. View David’s original post and read more of his work on his blog, Partners in EXCELLENCE, here.
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Recently, I was on a road trip. I knew where I needed to end up and what time I had to be there. Before leaving, I looked at Google Maps, got a rough idea of how to go and how much time I should allow. I sent the destination to my car so the navigation system could guide me on the best route.

I was a little worried, I saw there was some construction, and the weather report said there might be snow over the mountains. So, I added a little extra time to make sure I reached my destination on time.
Fortunately, I had a colleague with me. He’d been to the client we were visiting quite a bit before.

As you might guess, halfway there, we started running into obstacles. The snow was slowing things down, I thought we were OK, fortunately I had allowed some buffer time. Then, about 30 miles from our destination, we ran into road construction. My navigation system quickly started redirecting me–unfortunately, we went right into traffic. I was worried, the system was estimating our arrival about 15 minutes late.

My colleague, jumped in, “Dave, I’ve done this drive dozens of times. Let me redirect you, we will get to the meeting with plenty of time to spare.” I started following his directions (you can imagine how the navigation system was reacting, it spent most of its time recalculating our route.)

Following his directions, we made it to our meeting with about 10 minutes to spare. If I had followed the navigation system, we most likely would have been late.

If you think of that trip, it’s a lot like our customer’s buying journeys. They know where they want to end up. They know when they need to be there. They may have some tools to help them navigate that buying journey.

But things happen.

They’ve never done this before. They encounter obstacles, so they try to navigate around them. But because they haven’t done this before, or recently, they may get lost. They may take very long, circuitous routes, perhaps getting even more lost. Or, if they see great difficulty in getting to their destination, they may just stop.

Salespeople can help customers navigate their buying journey–much like my colleague helped us reach our destination on time. Like my colleague, salespeople have been on this journey and reached the destination before with other customers.

Salespeople know how to get around the obstacles. They know the most efficient routes to reach the destination. They helped hundreds of customers navigate similar journeys before.
What leadership are you providing to help your customer navigate their buying journey?

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