Open Doors by Giving Prospects Good Reasons to Meet1 Sep, 2012 By: Kate Kingston, Kingston Training Group imageSource
There are two simple questions that need to be answered in prospecting: 1) Is now the proper time to investigate how my business technology investment is performing? And 2) Should I investigate it with you? That’s it. That’s why people accept new meetings. That’s why they will let you in the door. So in order to answer those questions, you need to start by fully understanding them.
Should a prospect stop their business day to allow you to come in and talk to them about purchasing solutions that they were likely not even thinking about when you walked in, emailed, or called them?
As professional salespeople looking to make a sale, we certainly think “Yes!” The challenge is to get the prospect to think the exact same thing. Yet how? How do you convince them that spending their time and resources to investigate, and possibly recreate, a technology roadmap is what they must do? That is the task at hand. So let’s pull apart what is really being asked when investigating how their current business investment is performing. What we are trying to accomplish is to open a door for a real discussion on, say, MS, MPS, CRM or hardware, software, or service operations, etc.
This opens the door for any of these solutions being an option, which is what we want. Here at the Kingston Training Group, we know this is proven by the sales executives when they are able to discuss proprietary examples of their workflow. We must convince them that a virtual CIO is needed even if they have an in-house CIO. What do I mean by that? We must convince them that they need someone to make technology recommendations, implement those recommendations, train the staff on how to take full advantage of the technology, and keep the technology up and running. That’s exactly who you are and what you can do.
The technology investment is the money and the resources they have spent, and will spend from their budget on further technology. That includes whether or not they keep their IT staff in place, having them continue all they are doing – or consider if allocating those resources differently would make more sense.
Processes change; get further enhanced or become obsolete. Today, our kids don’t even know what a typewriter is or why it needed carbon paper for copies, but this was standard practice for years when duplicating documents. Now we use copiers and printers to complete that task faster and cheaper while using the capital asset of employees’ time more effectively. It’s about the same with all the advancements for a company’s IT department. There are multiple ways for us to come in and change how workflow is enhanced for better use of employee time, saving costs while improving quality of service. We just have to convince a prospect that it is worth looking in to; that savings, and employees time and
workflow, can be effectively improved to maximize efficiency. Putting that as the emphasis in your prospecting conversation allows for the questions & answers needed.
Lead your prospects to think, “Maybe I should investigate how well my technology investment is really performing now.” Along with you saying, “Let me investigate this with you. I have the experience to help you.”
You need to convince a prospect to be open to the idea that your firm is the one they need. You/me/we certainly don’t want to open up the first question and have them run back or rely on their current vendor for all the answers. So, why would a prospect be open to another, new vendor? It’s simple – you offer more; better price points, better service, more experience, more follow through and training; basically more specific expertise. Hopefully, your business offers all or most of these things yet there should be one or two areas that noticeably stand out or that you’re known for, and are able to provide good references on. This adds credibility in a competitive field.
Companies switch or select alternates when they can see firsthand how they can receive better, affordable services, and/or pass this on to their customers. Does your dealership offer things your competitors don’t? This is one place to start with your prospects. What about you adding niche areas for added revenue opportunities? Some of our clients also provide supplies, office furniture, phone systems, or partnered with manufacturers to create more customized solutions. Incorporate what is unique about this in your conversation. Naturally, always add that you may be most cost effective in the long run. I know some providers aren’t the cheapest choices but being cost effective does not always mean cheap – the term “value” takes on meaning here.
During your company assessment or investigation you must uncover employee time-wasters, workflow-wasters, and if older equipment or too many devices is wasting their money. These discoveries are part of the distinct value that you bring to the table and which will address the question of whether a prospect should consider investing their office technology budget with you.
Many sales reps can talk or sell quite well on their own product lines and/or service features, forgetting to compare or mention how their service differs from their competition. And no – you can’t just say “3-hour turnaround on a service call” expecting to them to read between the lines or realize this is good. Competitors or existing vendors make assurances and promises also, regardless if they deliver on it or not, so you need to specifically list benefits and real assurances, if not guarantees. I believe that service issues are the most common reason why an office manager will allow you a first meeting. There’s a good probability that they are unhappy about their current solution which is either too costly, not efficient, is hard to use or is not up and running consistently enough. And regardless that you prefer to schedule meetings at the C-level, sometimes you have to get past the office manager first or who else wields the purchasing decision for her/his department. When that happens, remember service is likely the most important issue to first address with him or her.
The last component of why a prospect would investigate their BT investment with you is because of your expertise in their industry. Nothing will set you apart faster and catch your prospect’s attention quicker than real client references that are either vertically or geographically based. When delivering client references it is also effective if you include length of time that your company or dealership has worked with the client, and the point person’s name. The biggest way to set you apart is to include some proprietary examples of how use of your technology or provided service helped lead to their current success. Testimonials (quotes) compiled from your list of client references is good to make available upon request.
You need to connect the dots for your prospects up front, and help them to see that by re-examining their current processes, that they will be opening the door to improvement, and that you hold the answers. Now, go get that first meeting! When you make more meetings, you make more money.