Posts Tagged Sales
I would like to continue topic of Expert Sales. See previous post – “Expert sales: part I – assessment“.
It covered decision making model when launching expert sales. But how to get there? How to retrieve those answers from your client?
Let’s make first very first step – first talk or meeting with your customer. Dealing with front-line requests you never know who is calling you/who is at your door, so need to act prepared in order not to miss your chance.
Let me take an example…
Imagine you have your phone ringing and a nice female (or male, your choice) voice asks for your service. What would you do? What questions would you ask? What and how will you tell/offer? What would be your next steps? What impression will you make?
First of all: make sure person who is speaking with newly called customer is qualified enough to start assessment. If not, leave clear instructions how he/she should act and what to tell/not to tell if such a person is unavailable at the moment.
I usually leave clear instructions if call reaches receptionist and no one from sales guys is available:
- Register person’s name, position, contact phone, e-mail;
- Ask how he/she learned about us?
- Ask to describe what service he/she is looking for?
- Ask what company he/she represents?
- Agree for suitable callback time of sales person.
Be cautious and NEVER at this point:
- Give any estimations on time, budjet, etc (even if person insists);
- Start “selling” yourself or your services/pushing/advertising;
- Say NO (after a while you may establish clear rules when you allow your front-line guy to say NO to assess already at this step);
Benefit applying such an approach is that that your sales guy will have time to prepare and gather information before the call, that could be:
- Surf client’s webpage/Google about company, their services and business;
- Analyze initial request and perform first step assessment if possible;
- Prepare questions you would ask to assess further;
- Obtain information about possible competitors of potential client;
- Obtain information about person you prepare to call to;
- Call back when ready and as agreed;
And finally, remember: you never get a second chance to make a first impression!
And whoever plays in your front line he/she makes that impression.
To be continued…
I define those as: an action to convert new customer (client) to sign a contract with us (supplier) on whatever is non-existing (thus not tangible) yet, that needs to be developed and require high expertise both to develop and sale.
Topic is specifically important for companies providing software development services. Because those usually do require such an expertise and cost a lot.
To be clear: I mean selling services that require high expertise. I do not mean goods or typical or cloned/a bit modified software that is relatively easy to implement that require different methods of sales.
Real life example
Let’s take real life situation to explore challenges and ways to address expert sales in more details…
Imagine you run a web studio or software development lab as a sales manager. Your goal is to provide it with required level of contracts per month (quarter, year) to generate required first sales.
Imagine also that your marketing works well and you have incoming pool of customers with initial needs at your door, phone, e-mail, etc.
What shall you and your sales guys do to get them converted in? And how you ensure you’re converting right ones?
This post addresses the second topic.
Implementing expert sale assessment
Expert sales are hard to implement, as those require a lot of energy, ‘cos you may need to “chase” desired client quite a long time, but it pays off in the end.
To ensure that it really worths, you need to be able to “filter”. Because you’re about to invest into converting this customer, so you need to be sure you have reasonable ROI. Surely you have your view what products your company/department is targeted best at and where you see your biggest margin. You also know how you prefer to work and what working conditions are most suitable for your team. And many other factors you know better…
Your fist goal will be to filter all incoming requests leaving those that are not compliant out.
Things that I used to assess (building up a scale) of worthiness:
1. Client organization portrait: big/small, long/short term oriented collaboration, start-up/grown, etc.
2. Who is our first point of contact: this reflects two things:
- how serious client is about upcoming project (how much time he/she is ready/planning to invest and to what extent be involved);
- and who in person is your possible counterpart (this also reflects what aspects of possible project are considered as important by client);
3. Project characteristics: scale, suits our possibilities/have to involve subcontractors (freelancers), long/short term, etc…
4. Level of readiness: to what extent client is ready to invest into new project immediately? Does client ready-ready or just “thinking” to start project?
5. What is decision making structure within client’s organization of contracting with us: who are key people that will participate in deal from client side? How they influence yes/no decision? How potentially problematic it may be to work with/persuade them?
6. Product management: to what extent client knows what they want? Will project also require product management expertise from us? Is it acceptable for client? What will be outcome of the project if product management is needed but client will not let you do it?
7. Project management and possible collaboration ways: as we used to/non-acceptable, have to accommodate to client needs?
8. Risks: all kind of things that look odd and/or suspicious;
Only after having those questions addressed you can make decision about investing into “expert sale” deal. And there are poor chances that you’ll get answers to those questions if ask them directly. You need to discover them for yourself, gradually…
How? This will be a topic for some future related post.
To be continued…