I just came across the article “66 Things You Should Know About Your Customer” in the Inc.com website written by Harvey Mackay. He talks about the importance of knowing your customer in selling to them.
He also stresses the fact that, even though you may be selling to a business or an organization, the real buyer is still an individual and it is important to know about the individual as much as you know about his company, if not more.
He also has developed Mackay 66, a 66-question customer profile that includes absolutely no information about the envelopes a company buys, but rather focuses on the person who does the buying.
I would like to contradict here a it with Harvey. Though I agree with him about knowing the person behind the decisions is very important, one must not get carried away with this facet of the selling. Successful sales people always care about the person making the buying decision or involved in the decision making process, but always make sure that they demonstrate clear value proposition for the customer organization as well. If one forgets this part and sells solely based on the relationship that they develop with the decision makers, they will not do any good for themselves in the long term as the buyers will understand sooner than later that they got manipulated to buy stuff that did not bring in value to their organizations.
So, it is important to know the 66 things about your real customer, but one needs to do a lot more than just knowing these things.
Successful sales people will not sell to a customer unless there is no demonstrable value for the customer organization in buying their product/services.