Take it Easy
After months of trying, you land an appointment with a major account that uses your competitor’s products. Like many reps, you probably feel an overpowering urge to cram as much as possible into this one meeting. You need to tell them about your company’s new directions, latest technologies, state-of-the-art products, competitive advantages, top-notch service and more.
But, slow down. Prospects who receive information overload unconsciously erect barriers to slow or even derail your sales efforts. How? They tell you everything is fine, even if they’re dissatisfied with their current vendor. They rule out conducting business with you if your product lacks a minor capability. Your pricing is never good enough. Or they simply thank you for the update and promise to contact you when the need arises. Sound familiar? It’s the result of trying to establish long-standing vendor relationships in one sales call. Prospects distrust motives when they perceive a lack of concern for their needs, and that’s exactly what happens when you spend most of your time doing all the talking.
Top sellers realize that replacing an incumbent is a slow, deliberate process. They understand it takes time to demonstrate value and develop strong relationships. Knowing this, they put together a one-step-at-a-time account entry strategy that actually advances the sales process much faster than if they tried to do everything in a single call. Here are some suggested steps:
• Do your homework. Learn as much as you can before the meeting. Review your prospect’s annual report and website. Look for gaps between where the customer is and where he or she wants to be. Identify primary initiatives and determine how your product helps achieve the objectives or ties in with critical business drivers. For example, if “earning customer loyalty” is mentioned repeatedly, figure out how you can contribute.