OMG! It’s soooo not about you

We shall listen, not lecture; learn, not threaten. We will enhance our safety by earning the respect of others and showing respect for them.”
Theodore C. Sorensen
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Last year I wrote “the first date analogy for OSS,” about two vastly different approaches to selling to a potential OSS customer.

Over the years, I’ve seen many vendor presentations whilst assisting customers with their OSS product selections. One of the things I’ve noticed is that most vendor presentations are all about the vendor and their products. It’s all about their product set, their customers, their functionality, their amazingness.

That’s fair enough I guess because the customer wants to know about all of those things of course. But the thing that’s often glaringly missing is any attention to the customer’s situation. Often the closest the vendor gets is when they display their NASCAR page and point out their existing clients that are in a similar sector (eg tier-one Telco, ISP, utility, etc) to the potential new customer.

Where’s the Customer’s Situation Appraisal, their objectives, their pain points, their return on the potential project investment and generally the description of how the products will provide lasting benefits to the customer?

I also equate the first date analogy to a job interview. The employer doesn’t want to hear how amazing you are, not directly anyway. They want to hear how you will step straight in and resolve the problems or gaps that they have created the role to fill. You sure can tell them how amazing you are, but in the context of how your skills and experience will help their specific situation.

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