What the Customer Wants You to Know

How Everybody Needs to Think Differently about Sales

Ram Charan

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (December 27, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1591841658
ISBN-13: 978-1591841654

“We have to face the truth: the process of selling is broken. Customers have more choices and are under  intense pressure. Yet few companies are facing this reality. When they don’t, a lingering malaise sets in.”

More than ever these days, the sales process tends to be a war about price—a frustrating, unpleasant war that takes all the fun out of selling.

But there’s a better way to think about sales, says bestselling author Ram Charan, who is famous for clarifying and simplifying difficult business problems. What the customer wants you to know is how his or her business works, so you can help make it work better. It sounds simple, but there’s a catch: you won’t be able to do that with your traditional sales approach.

Instead of starting with your product or service, start with your customer’s problems. Focus on becoming your customer’s trusted partner, someone he can turn to for creative, cost-effective solutions that are based on your deep knowledge of his values, goals, problems, and customers.

This book defines a new approach to selling—which Charan calls value creation selling—that while radical is nonetheless practical. VCS has been battle-tested in companies in a variety of industries, such as Unifi, MeadWestvaco, and Thomson Financial. It will enable you to:

  • Gain a deeper knowledge of your customers problems.
  • Understand how your customer’s company really makes decisions.
  • Help your customer improve margins and drive revenue growth.
  • Connect sales with other key functions such as finance and manufacturing.
  • Come up with new customized offerings.
  • Make price much less of an issue.

VCS gets you out of the hell of commoditization and low prices. It differentiates you from the competition, paving the way to better pricing, better margins, and higher revenue growth, built on win-win relationships that deepen over time.

Someday, every company will listen more closely to the customer, and every manager will realize that sales is everyone’s business, not just the sales department’s. In the meantime, this eye-opening book will show you how to get started.

“Ram Charan’s done it again! In his signature, easy-to-follow style, Ram describes a practical, down-to-earth yet radically new approach to sales and new business development. Any professional—from a CEO to a front-line sales person—who is looking to improve sales effectiveness is sure to find this book well worth reading.”

–Francisco D’Souza, president and CEO, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation

“What the Customer Wants You to Know is an excellent primer for any business looking to drive better sales results and profitable growth by focusing on what the customer needs to improve his or her business.”

–John A. Luke, CEO, MeadWestvaco

“What the Customer Wants You to Know challenges sales forces to revolutionize their methods—and our experience at The Thomson Corporation testifies to the fact that the payoff in increased sales and customer loyalty can be significant. His recommendations may sound radical, but they are practical and effective.”

–Dick Harrington, president and CEO, The Thomson Corporation

“What the Customer Wants You to Know offers a revolutionary approach to customers and sales. Ram Charan provides readers a detailed road map of the coming organization in which creating value for customers becomes everyone’s primary goal. It is must reading for every manager and salesperson.”

–Murray Martin, CEO, Pitney Bowes, Inc.

“For the winners in today’s complex business environment, the days of simply selling products and services are over. I recommend What the Customer Wants You to Know for anyone trying to understand the shifting sands of today’s competitive environment.”

–Bill Teuber, vice chairman, EMC

“Ram Charan’s advice and ideas have dramatically changed the way Genpact goes to market and sells to key strategic customers. His insights are priceless.”

–Pramod Bhasin, president and CEO, Genpact Global