For more years than I want to admit I’ve worked on improving one of the biggest mistakes I make when interacting with others. The mistake? I expect others to be like and think like me. It’s not a good strategy for meeting customer expectations.

What, Everyone Isn’t Just Like Me?

It’s a topic I’m passionate about and include in the leadership development training I conduct. I discuss this in my book, The New Manager’s Workbook: A crash course in effective management.

Too often I assume others learn as I do, are motivated by the same things that motivate me, and communicate similarly. But that’s not always the case, is it?

If you’ve ever muttered, “That’s not how I would have done it.” ‘You’d think they’d know better!” “What were they thinking?” or some other similar statement of disappointment when others didn’t meet your expectations, then you’ve experienced this. So, what’s this have to do with sales?

What Does Your Customer Expect?

Your customers aren’t one size fits all. However, many salespeople treat customers as if they were all the same, and too often it’s what the salesperson would want, not what the client needs. I’ll give you an example. We recently published some industry related books.(Here’s an example A Guide to Business Signage.) Our purpose was to offer these books to customers who would like, use, and appreciate them.

When I introduced the book to the sales team I explained it wasn’t for every client or prospect. Some customers would think it was boring. However, if they walked into a prospect’s office, found it lined with books, and the customer seemed interested, asking a lot of questions, it might be the perfect tool to impress the prospect with our expertise and professionalism.

It’s Important to Know Thyself, but in Sales, it’s More Important to Know Your Customer

Meeting customer expectations begins with the awareness that we all tend to expect others to be the same as us, and then work to learn your customer so you can fulfill their needs. Because asking your customer to meet your expectations might not be the best sales tactic, you think?

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