Learn your customer’s business

I was talking to a client today about the importance of being client-focused when the economy is soft.

The alternative is to compete on falling prices, which is like trying to catch a falling knife. If you take the time to be client focused, you become a solution provider during a time of many business problems. Developing a sincere interest in the client’s business issues changes everything, making you exempt (or un-cuttable) from the cutbacks that most vendors face when their client needs to save money.

I learned this in 2001-2003, after the dotcom crash. If our sales team learned about the client’s business and became a trusted marketing advisor (that also sold media), they were still able to win business at rate card — and take market share from desperate competitors that were discounting their business into a commodity.

Here’s a video I made in 2003, to express this thought to the Yahoo ad sales force. We showed it at the sales conference right before my talk. I’m taking it down in a few weeks, so enjoy! Don’t Be A Wansta