These days, it isn’t about the shine; it’s about what happens when the shine wears off.
Will your business owner clients think positively of you a year from now because of an investment you championed? They’d better. Without buy in from everyone involved, resistance is the best you can expect the next time you visit.
As for this time – If you can’t explain to a random person in the lunch room or the warehouse why their employer should buy your stuff, it’s going to get picked to shreds.
ROI and the Why-To-Buy
The key to being successful is establishing Why-to-Buy in the context of each involved group. The discussion that sells the owner will differ quite a bit from the one that gets the warehouse on board, much less the one that gives the warehouse manager the tools necessary to get their staff on board.
When new purchase discussions do get down to talking about numbers, the ROI discussed is sometimes legitimately unproven and is frequently presented in a way that makes ROI impossible to prove, much less disprove. That’s a fast track to a “no sale”.
What’s your reaction to sales calls?
Ask a few business owners about sales calls. You’ll get a common list of “Why I don’t want to talk to you, sales dude.”
- I don’t know you, even though you act like I do.
- I still have a bad feeling about our last deal.
- I don’t need anything right now, but I am willing to listen to new stuff just in case, but you need to make an appointment.
- You have no appointment.
- I’m the wrong person.
The last time I had an office on a public street, the front door had a sign that invited two types of salespeople in (Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts) and provided the rest with instructions and a number to call for an appointment.
In seven years, one salesperson called that number to make an appointment. The rest wasted their time because they didn’t respect our time enough to make an appointment. You might think that an aggressive salesperson shouldn’t take no for an answer. When it concerned that office, that was the wrong choice.
Another thing that I see and hear repeatedly is problems with a sales presentation.
These complaints include:
- A one way conversation – like drinking from a firehose
- Not customized based on knowledge of your needs
- Generic financials that don’t identify a payoff period
- Little consideration for your real situation
- Inaccurate assessment of labor cost savings
- Ignore additional costs and management requirements
- Gaps between the presentation and delivered solution
- Selling the invisible. Either things that don’t work or things that don’t yet exist – and won’t be delivered for months.
Consider whether your presentations exhibit any of these qualities.
What they want to experience
How would most business owners react when their favorite salesperson calls?
- Only calls when there’s a win ready for the business owner to invest in.
- Shows up with a checklist of qualifications that illustrate why the opportunity fits the business.
- Shows up with testimonials from similar businesses – complete with contact information, so you’re welcome to call them.
- Has clearly spent time thinking about why they and the opportunity fits the owner’s business.
- Brings up alternatives and why they ruled them out.
- Leads their market – not so much in sales as much as vision, crcitical because it carries with it influence and the reputation of a market leader.
- Thinks about what challenges you face and what they can do to make it possible to overcome them.
- Brings opportunities that you can implement that without losing your existing momentum.
Think about how many times you’ve had to deal with the situations I described above – both good and bad. How many times have you done this to a prospect? How much trouble was it to make that deal happen, if it happened?
ROI grows as buy-in expands. Remember that everyone views ROI differently. Next time, we’ll talk about strategies to involve everyone in that conversation so that the buy-in stretches from the main office to the warehouse dock.
When a business owner sees that sort of widespread buy-in, good outcomes are almost sure to follow.