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Paul Wittenberg – Customer-Centric Solutions

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The way in which companies communicate with their customers is critical, particularly when dealing with innovations that the customer might not understand.

Why is asking intelligent questions so important?

In sales, as it is in interviewing, I find that the best thing you can do is ask an intelligent question. You can talk all day about your products and services, but the moment you ask a really smart and insightful question that the customer hadn’t thought about, which indicates you were listening, and is relevant to what the customer is doing, you will engage a customer. They will immediately understand that you have a command of the problem set and can apply a solution that specifically meets their needs. This is the best way that I know to demonstrate knowledge to a customer.

the moment you ask a really smart and insightful question that the customer hadn’t thought about, which indicates you were listening, and is relevant to what the customer is doing, you will engage a customer. They will immediately understand that you have a command of the problem set and can apply a solution that specifically meets their needs

I think that’s why the probing question is so important. It’s more valuable than any other approach you can take. So, a customer-centric approach is wrapped around finding a need, want, or desire. Now, they might not be things that are in the forefront of the customer’s mind. It may take some probing questions to get the customer to realize that there are opportunities for them that they have not yet realized, or conversely, that there are competitive threats in the marketplace for the kinds of services they are selling. Either one of these heightens the customer’s understanding of the market.

Without uncovering one of those needs, wants or desires, you are really not selling against a particular objective. You’re trying to push a product and selling against no particular need. You might have other customers who are more readily capable and understand the domain space you’re trying to attack and you could more easily work with those customers than the one you are currently talking to. Part of the objective here is to spend your valuable time with those customers who “get it”.

Many sales people will tell you that if they can’t identify a specific customer objective (want, need, desire), they just very quickly walk away from that deal. And that’s the way I would approach it too. If the customer is not “getting it”, and through your intelligent questioning you can’t uncover a want, need or desire, then I would move on and find the customers where you can.

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Paul Wittenberg – Social Media Strategy PWSMC

Paul is a technology professional, helping customers enable their organi- zations to best leverage leading edge technologies. Paul has held senior positions with IBM, BEA, KPMG and Salesforce, where he focused on technologies such as Telecommu- nications, Mobility, Internet/ecommerce and Social Media. Between building the first local Internet practice at IBM, running the World Wide Telecom practice at BEA and leading the social media strategy delivery at Salesforce, Paul has continued to look at the application of new technologies in support of business objectives.

Paul has been recently looking into the application of these technologies to assist regional governmental entities with the services that they offer to their communities.

When not working, Paul has one marathon under his belt; 95% of a pilot’s license; plays guitar in a rock band, banjo in a Dixieland band; and is rebuilding a 65 GMC pickup.