Friday, January 29, 2010

Solving problems or making sales?

I usually buy car parts at Autozone. No, they’re not paying me to say that. And yes, I do have a good reason which very much applies to running a business.

Let me explain: A few years back, my car had a minor problem that I could fix on my own. A small plastic part had cracked and needed replacing. Not too difficult. I took the cracked part to an auto parts store, but no one in the store could identify the part. Instead, they tried to sell me a similar part and convince me it would work.

I knew it wouldn’t work. It wasn’t the same size. The one thing I did know: No one in that store cared about my problem. They cared about making a sale. It didn't stop at that store. In fact, the exact same thing happened at two other auto parts stores.

Finally, I walked into Autozone expecting the same treatment. Instead, an employee immediately identified the part and found a replacement. He even gave me a few tips for installing the new part. I was blown away. He cared about fixing my problem, not just making the sale.

Do you see the business connection? This happens all the time in the software industry. Most software companies care about selling software, not fixing your problem. In fact, they’ll even try to convince you that their software will fix your problem, when you know full well that it won’t.

What a waste of time.

Companies interested in providing a solution take an interest in your problem. Companies interested in selling software take an interest in your budget. It’s pretty clear which type of company you’re talking to within the first few minutes. If it becomes clear they're only interested in selling software, regardless of your problem, end it right there. You'll save valuable time...and sanity.


Ruben 2:04 PM  

This is so true! Provide a solution to people's problems and they will come to you forever, but don't try and force your square solution (a lot of salespersons are square heads) into someone's round problem. Refer them to someone who can solve their problem. I recently did business with a software company because they helped me find solutions that I could solve without any benefit to they're company, and in the end they had the experience to earn my business by implementing the solution.

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