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Flipping the funnel: turning customers into sales people

Seth Godin always gets it right: and he does it again in his new free e-book called "Flipping the Funnel", which you can download here.

In his related post "understanding the funnel" Seth makes the following controversial statement, which I am convinced makes most salespeople/CEOs' blood run cold:

"At this point, your job is not to make a sale. Selling is just one option in a range of things you can do to further drive him down the funnel. You can engage in a dialogue (by phone or email) that takes place over time and avoids the all-or-nothing cliff of "buy now or go away forever". You can further inform or entertain, all in the service of your goal of increasing the interest, education and value of this prospect."

I would like to point out one very important concept in this paragraph: The cliff of "buy now or forever go away".
Godin puts into words the key malady of many of today's publically listed, value-for-our-shareholders, result-driven companies out there: the BUY or DIE attitude.

Don't get me wrong: in the end it is about selling a product or a service. But it is not only about the sale - it comes back to the concept I have been touting all along: how about some respect for the customer? How about some appreciation, some interest, simple but real human-to-human interaction?

Ok, we're all marketeers, but all of us are consumers too. We have all experienced the frustration of bad service and we've all felt the blood-boiling anger of "Damn it, I'M the customer here!". To be a good marketeer one has to think like a customer - always. And I'm not talking the cliched "let's put ourselves in our customers shoes for a while" marketing spiel here...I'm talking about using your personal gut feeling, your instinct as a consumer OUTSIDE work and use that to help shape your marketing programs. Food for thought...