Candid Letter from Your Frazzled Customer

Excerpted from SNAP Selling, by Jill Konrath

As you read this article, think about how this crazy-busy person would respond to your usual voicemail or email messages - because that's what it's all about.

Dear Seller,

I have only a few minutes, but I understand you're interested in selling me something. As far as I'm concerned, that's pretty self-serving.

The truth is, you have no idea what my life is like. You may think you do, but you don't - and you need to if you're going to get my business.

I got to the office early this morning so I could have some uninterrupted time to work on a project-something I can't seem to squeeze into the normal business day.

By 9:00 a.m., all my good intentions were dashed when my boss asked me to drop everything in order to put together a head-count reduction plan. Revenue slumped last quarter, and we need to cut costs.

Then Engineering informed me that our new product won't be available for the upcoming trade show. Sales will go ballistic when they hear this. That's the last thing I need to have happen.

Get the picture? Welcome to my world of everyday chaos, where as hard as I try to make progress, I keep slipping further behind. Right now I have at least 59 hours of work piled on my desk. I have no idea when I'll get it all done.

Did I mention e-mail? I get over 150 each day. Then, add to that at least 30 phone calls from sellers just like you who'd "love to meet with me."

In short, I have way too much to do, ever-increasing expectations, impossible deadlines, and constant interruptions from people wanting my attention.

Time is my most precious commodity, and I protect it at all costs. I live with the status quo as long as I can-even if I'm not happy with it. Why? Because change creates more work and eats up my time.

Which gets us back to you. In your well-intentioned but misguided attempts to turn me into a customer, you fail woefully to capture and keep my attention. Let me be blunt: I don't care about your product, service, or solution.

I quickly scan your e-mails or letters looking for any self-promotional talk that glorifies your offering or your company. The minute it jumps out at me, you're gone. Zapped from my in-box or tossed into the trash can. Say it in your voice mail message, and I delete you immediately. Delete, delete, delete.

When you spend an entire meeting blathering about your unique methodologies, great technology, or extraordinary service, my mind wanders to important tasks that need to get done. Sure, I even occasionally check my BlackBerry for messages while you're speaking. But you would too if you were in my position.

I'm not always like this. Occasionally a savvy seller captures my attention, entices me to meet with them, shows me why I should change, and then makes it easy for me to work with them.

What are they doing? They're completely focused on my business and the impact they can have on it. That's what I care about-not their pitch.

If you focus on helping me achieve my objectives, I'll listen to you all day long. But you can't rope me in with the good stuff, then slip back into that trash talk. If so, you're gonzo.

Make sense? I hope so, because I'm late for a meeting, and while I've been writing this, the phone's been ringing off the hook.

Best regards,

Your Customer
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