Ashley Libby Diaz, PT, MBA is a MedTech Brand and Marketing Strategist and Member of the Board of Cancer Support Community SW Colorado.
Imagine that the day has finally come for you to buy the new car you have been wanting. The problem is that you have two cars you really like. We will call them Awdi and BMU.
You walk into the Awdi dealership. A saleswoman walks up to you with a smile on her face and says, “Hi, I’m Juliet. What brings you here today?” When you tell her you are in the market for a new car, she responds by saying, “Great. I would love to help you find the right car for you — the one you cannot wait to drive home — whether that is from us or another dealership. How can I help you today?” Your guard drops immediately, and you start a long conversation about the car of your dreams.
Next, you walk into the BMU car dealership. A salesman walks up to you and, with no introduction, says, “Looking for a new car? How can I help you?” After your last experience, your guard shoots up in an instant as you feel the sales pressure go from zero to 10 in a matter of seconds. You manage to sputter that you are in fact looking for a new car. Without skipping a beat, Max, the BMU salesman, whisks you off to look at the car they just got in that he knows you are going to love.
So, who do you want to buy a car from: Juliet, who wanted to help you find the right car, even if it meant you’d buy it from another dealer, or Max, who only wanted to sell you a car?
My bet is on Juliet.
Why? She created a mutual purpose with you, her customer.
Juliet put you and your purpose to find your dream car first. Her need to make the sale or earn a commission was not even on her radar. She genuinely wanted to be of service to you and to help you fulfill your purpose. By creating mutual purpose, Juliet opened the door for an open and authentic conversation in which she could explore your needs and desires. Wow, right?
Now think about your company. How does it market and sell its products or services? Does your company create mutual purpose with customers, focus on being in genuine service to them, put customers’ needs and objectives first and create open and authentic dialogue like Juliet does? Or, does it market and sell by putting the company’s goals and objectives first, being in service to the company and shutting down any chance of real conversation like Max?
The chances are good that your company is somewhere in between. Individuals who make up your company may skew toward one style or the other depending on their roles, their traits and their values.
By now, it is probably clear that your company could better serve customers if your employees acted like Juliet. The question is: How could your company be better served by learning to be more like her?
In my experience, mutual purpose is paramount to marketing and sales success. As a result, it is also important for business success.
When marketing and sales organizations lead with mutual purpose, they establish safety, create resonance, foster connection and increase engagement through shared goals with their customers. Mutual purpose may even give some marketing and sales organizations a common objective to work toward in conjunction with their customers.
Working together to achieve a mutual purpose is more common in some industries, particularly health care. Medical device and technology companies, for example, often work hand-in-hand with their physician customers to achieve improved patient outcomes and experiences.
So what does your company do if reaching a mutual purpose with your customers is a more subtle or nuanced process in your industry?
You create it.
Find where your customers’ purpose and your company mission — or your product’s or service’s intended purpose — intersect. Alternatively, co-create mutual purpose with your customers.
When in doubt, think about how someone like Juliet would handle it, or start a conversation with your customers to see how the mutual purpose you identified resonates.
Once you have created a mutual purpose, don’t keep it a secret. Use it. Use it to start conversations and enable dialogue with customers and potential customers. Use it throughout your company’s branding and marketing efforts and in messaging and storytelling.
Teach it to your marketing and sales organizations. Better yet, teach it to your whole organization. Let it inform and guide your company as it goes forward. Let it be the stimulus for innovation and advancement.
Watch how leading with mutual purpose impacts your marketing, sales and business results. More importantly, watch how it impacts your customers.
Capture and share the customer transformations you enabled by leading with mutual purpose so others can see what is possible when you join forces with your customers to achieve a common objective.
Finally, leading with mutual purpose typically only works if your intention is pure. You should have a genuine desire to be in service to your customers. Anything else could land you alongside Max.