If you can’t do it, you shouldn’t sell it. This is a challenge that an incredible number of organizations face in their sales and marketing processes. Marketers go out and make wild promises about capabilities that don’t exist in the product. Sales professionals convince people to sign on the dotted line for something that won’t be ready for months, if not years.

Inevitably, the customer finds broken promises. At best, they forgive and live with what they do have in hand. At worst, they very publicly call you out for not living up to your promises.

Do what you say to say what you do.

Got a product or service? Your sales and marketing teams should be proficient in the use of the product and have had hands on experience with it. No, if you sell elaborate medical devices, your sales team doesn’t have to perform actual surgery on someone – but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for them to try it on a medical cadaver, would it?

When was the last time your marketers shadowed your manufacturing staff or your customer service staff for a day?

When was the last time you picked up the phone or visited the customer, hit the front lines, staffed the call center yourself, or went down to the factory floor or the development lab to build something? If your product or service requires specialized skills, when was the last time you personally buddied up with one of your experts to build something together?

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Amazing things happen when you take the occasional trip down into the weeds. You shouldn’t stay there if it isn’t your job, but if you’re marketing it, you should know it intimately. You should be able to represent what you do to someone else as though you did it yourself.

Most of all, you should know what you can and can’t sell from practical experience. The product doesn’t actually do X. The product has innovative use Y that isn’t on any of the brochures.

Do what you say. Live the customer experience. Only then can you truly say what you do.


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