What did I learn in sales?
Thought of sharing some of my experience in sales so far, I am going to focus primarily on how to deal with Prospects, which means you have already done some level of qualification on the lead (company/individual) and you believe that it is worth pursuing with the lead to seek opportunities.The points are not necessarily in order and it covers only few aspects of selling nevertheless here are my quick thoughts around it. Some of the points would be very specific to selling IT services.
- First connect and then sell. Don’t start running your corporate presentation immediately, see if you can talk about some common interest, ask some thought provoking questions around prospect’s business, seek opportunity for some humor etc.
- Once you feel the prospect is comfortable, give out the Agenda for the meeting and see if prospect wants to add/remove anything from it. This would help structure your conversation accordingly
- Have enough pause between slides, so it gives a chance for the prospect to jump in and ask questions if any. Alternatively check with the prospect if he has any questions every 2 or 3 slides. It is usually a good sign if the prospect is asking questions, it indicate that he is looking for answers to overcome some of existing pain-points or trying to understand our offerings better.
- Of course before you get into a prospect call, spend minimum of 1 hour knowing the prospect, about the company and what they may be looking for (if you don’t know already).
- Ideally you should have 3 good questions ready for the prospect, which would show that you have taken time to understand their business, have done your homework and also makes the prospect feel that you are smart.
- In some cases if you already have an idea on what they would be looking for, go with 2 or 3 ideas on what can help their business? Their productivity? Their profitability? Value proposition around your solution.
- Once you are done with showcasing your capabilities, qualify the prospect on his needs, urgency and authority (usually the prospect won’t let out their budget details, so I am leaving that from the qualification list, but you can always hook up to their website and figure out how big they are etc)
- After qualification, there may be follow-up calls to understand the needs better and finally you provide your proposal with value proposition/cost/schedule etc, but during this process, don’t forget to ask the prospect “how would the buying decision be made?” Answer to this question would help you know if there are other stakeholders involved? Would provide insights about how they buy? Who is the final authority etc.
- If the prospect is telling you, let me have a internal discussion and get back, why don’t we touch base after 2 weeks or next quarter, we are still working on the requirements and will get back to you, we already have internal team but are thinking if we can augment some work, currently we don’t have a need but will keep you mind.All these reactions essentially means there is not much urgency here or prospect was not impressed enough with your presentation or perceives you don’t have what they need. In these scenarios see if you can put forward few questions to understand things better.Ask the prospect, would it help if we are part of the internal discussion to answer some of the questions you may have? What time would like to talk next week? Would you be interested if one of our business analyst can help you on requirements elaboration? Oh, if you already have an internal team, do you think that our skills can be a compliment to what you already have? Which are the areas you think there may be synergies in the future? Asking these questions will definitely let you know more about the prospect and you can then decide whether to pursue further or to move-on
- Negotiation, one of the most important aspects of selling, when the prospect talks about high price, ask him why does he feel that way? See if you can get his focus back to value which we offer than to price? See if you can narrow down on his thoughts about pricing. And more importantly never show desperation to close out a deal, being aggressive in the sales process is different from being desperate to close the deal.
- Power of silence, when you are in the closing stage and have put your offer in front of the prospect, be silent thereafter, and allow the prospect to react. If the prospect it taking time to decide, don’t get impatient to jump in with another better offer
- Retrospect after every win or lose, to see what went well and what not, this will help you improve your selling skills
In my next blog, I would definitely like to cover some of my experience around big wins/losses I went through and of course add more points to this above list.
Originally published at vkankaria.blogspot.com on April 23, 2018.