The Ice Cream Truck Analogy: What drives business?
by Jeff Sherman, COO Innovation Simple
What was more fun for you as a child, eating the ice cream or hearing the music of the ice cream truck in your neighborhood and frantically raiding your piggy bank racing to catch the truck?
Thinking back, I believe it was the whole “experience” that what made buying ice cream so exciting: music, choices, laughter. It is as true today as it was back then. As buyers, we seek an experience.
Buyers want to enjoy the process as much as they want to enjoy the product. Pace-setting companies recognize this fact. They focus on branding themselves through professionalism, authenticity, and approachability in order to create that experience. They create culture. The sales industry is rampantly driving that direction. Are you in?
There exists two trains of thought in seeking to brand a company, it seems; 1) that of carrying out business the way it has always been done “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and 2) forging ahead looking to improve the business as a culture with clear objectives and goals while listening to the customer. The latter is vital to longevity and career satisfaction today. Selling and delivering a product is great. But selling and delivering, while building people, is even better. Culture creates assets. Businesses with strong assets thrive.
Empowered, confident employees, like those we readily find in top performing companies, meet the needs of today’s buyers ethically and enthusiastically. They are “real”. Going forward, tough tactics and high pressure will proportionately discontinue to produce revenue in my opinion. Today’s buyer chooses a simpler way of doing business, efficient, and friendly. Look at Apple, Google, and Zappos; customers have voice in these paradigms. In such companies, customers are no longer viewed as being outside of the company.
We see a cultural shift in the successful sales teams of today. They are breaking free from the monotony of status quo selling. Sales people are moving toward sales consulting, the art of selling, by assisting the customer through the exciting process of purchasing. They inform and guide the customer along the way seeking to meet their needs and provide choices.
Such cultural branding is effective. It fosters confidence in your employees as well as in your communities. Educate your employees. Train them. Build sales people who believe in themselves and in their chosen profession. In turn, they will believe in their clients. Good business is more than ice cream and trucks. It is the customer experience. Drive the culture of your business and they will hear the music.
Source: Jeff Sherman, COO at Innovation Simple credits Founder Gaydon Leavitt and his team of professionals for the rapid growth and success of the company; “Like so many discover, it is our culture that defines us. The camaraderie among our people is extraordinary. They make things happen in a supportive environment.”
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