Selling isn’t about the shine; it’s about what happens when the shine has worn off.
Will your (or your clients’) management will think positively of you a year from now because of an investment you championed?
Sales calls: How they react
What’s your reaction when a salesperson calls?
Are there any salespeople who stand out from the crowd that you don’t want to talk to? If you’re a salesperson and you don’t get sales calls, ask around your company about the nature of the sales calls your management receives. You could learn a lot about the calls you make.
With a few exceptions, here are the reasons why I react the way I do to your sales call:
- I don’t know you, even though you act like I do.
- I still have a bad feeling about our last deal and you act like that didn’t happen.
- I don’t need anything right now, but I am willing to listen to new stuff – just in case – IF you make an appointment.
- You don’t have an appointment. Message received = You don’t respect my schedule or my time.
- I’m the wrong person or we’re have zero need.
- Last time we talked, you gave a generic presentation suited to all businesses, rather than one fine tuned for my business needs.
- Your last presentation was like drinking from a firehose.
- The financials from our last discussion were generic and didn’t identify the payoff period.
- Your assessment of labor cost savings (despite my objections/feedback) is inaccurate and/or you tend to ignore the additional costs incurred by implementing your solution, such as management costs.
- You are out of touch with what’s going on with the product side of your business, such as open issues, deliverability delays, implementation costs / timelines.
Sales calls: How they want to react
What people would like to feel when you call is “This person is a champion for our company. They only call when there’s a likely win ready for me, or when I need to know about something new in the industry that might affect our business.“
You get to that point in your clients’ minds in part by asking yourself questions like these:
“Why am I qualified to propose these solutions?“
“Do I have testimonials not only for my solution and company, but for the job I’ve done helping my clients?“
“My prospect / client fits us well because…“
“We are a good fit for our prospect / client because…“
“Have you reviewed the alternatives to your solution? If so, what are the pros and cons of each and why is yours the best fit for us?“
“Is my company a market leader? Not just in revenue, but in vision.“
“Is my company cranking out the same old thing to milk their cash cow, or are we also thinking about what our clients upcoming needs and producing something to address them?“
“Can my solution, my company and my proposal help my clients solve problems without causing them to lose momentum?“
Selling to everyone means selling to anyone
When you produce financials to sell your deal, you have to do the math and show your work, just like a high school test. Your proposal’s payback, implementation timeline and life cycle must reflect the client’s reality and your company’s ability to deliver.
The challenge is that every department views ROI differently. Today, you’re often selling to everyone in your client’s company.
A proposal citing the accounting and tax benefits will interest Accounting, but will resonate with Manufacturing / Shipping people who are concerned with process efficiency, throughput, MTBF and similar metrics?
Without buy in from everyone involved, your sale will be harder than it has to be.
“Everyone involved“? The discussion that sells the CEO and CFO will differ from one that gets Manufacturing on board, much less the one that gives the warehouse manager the tools necessary to get their staff on board.
Why should you care about whether the warehouse is on board?
Because they can kill a purchase, even though you never hear it that way. No CEO will tell you that Margaret in Accounting killed the deal or that the guys in the shop / on the dock thought the solution made no sense.
A final question: “Have you produced in-context materials for the client’s departments that help the client’s management sell the proposal to each department on their own terms?“