In B2B relationships, even the most purely contractual ones, a major source of strain is that both parties can’t agree on the solution. This happens when you’re trying to close a sale. It comes back to haunt during the development and deployment stages.
But you know, maybe you should’ve seen it coming even while you were still qualifying your software sales leads. Are you doing things the way the client wants or do you take pride in your own way of identifying potential customers? Either way, the attitude could’ve been an indicator of any future strain in your business relationships.
You know from my own experience with designers and the frequent complaints of those online, I think the problem should be taken even more seriously. It’s like a more intense version of gamers arguing over character builds or fashion junkies criticizing each other’s styles. The only real difference is that party represents the client and the other is the vendor.
Yet that difference aside, the problem is all the same: You can’t agree on something.
What bothers me is that oftentimes the narrative is either one or the other party is the ‘villain’ of the story. It’s either the business suffering the demands of a whiny customer or the hapless customer duped by a profit-greedy corporation into paying for something that ultimately failed to satisfy.
While I’m a fan of some clichés I’m rather uneasy in the stomach when it comes to these. You can’t always demonize it down to a “their way versus our way” debate. Don’t forget that you can still meet in the middle here!
- One could offer an entirely new perspective – What if, unlikely as it sounds, the customer turns out right? In spite all the expertise you cited and your experience, the tech setup your client asked worked surprisingly well in spite of your own expert misgivings. Don’t you think that, instead of nursing your wounded pride, you see if there’s something you need to learn?
- You might be missing something you normally wouldn’t have – Sometimes when you’re so eager to set an appointment, you get hasty and start to forget some important things (like whether or not to ask specifically about budgets). On the other hand, these are things your prospect is bound to notice and would easily use it as an argument against giving you any business.
- You could be the odd-one-out – Finally, there’s also the chance that you’re so alienated from your target market, it’s your organization that comes off as unorthodox. A lack of buy-in isn’t just because an organization doesn’t see the value of, say, your cloud data storage. It’s could also be because they’re in an industry that generally doesn’t put sensitive information (e.g. medical information) just anywhere.
A customer may not always be right but that doesn’t really matter. You’re not always right either. Instead of wondering if your sales lead are qualified your way or the prospect’s way, try to focus on why you really disagree.