Is it them, or is it you?
Here’s a quick check list for you to be sure it doesn’t happen;
To make sure it’s not you:
1/ Have you properly identified and agreed the need? – if you’ve assumed what they want instead of asking questions, then delays may happen while you clear up any confusion
2/ Have you managed expectations? – if they are expecting ‘A’ in 3 weeks and you give them ‘B’ in 5 weeks you may lose the business or at least have it delayed. Make sure they know and agree what to expect.
3/ Have you agreed the process? Their process for the purchase may be very different from your sales process. Talk to them, make it match.
To make sure it’s not them:
1/ if there is a delay from them – do you know all the decision makers and influencers so that any delay can be explained and overcome ASAP?
2/ if there is silence from them – have you agreed with the customer the best and most effective ways, and how often you can communicate with the key people in the sale?
3/ if it’s price – are you selling on value, not on price? i.e. stick tight to your quote and offer more value, rather than less price.
– Six common issues that can at least delay, and sometimes lose the business.
– Six simple strategies that will help to make sure they don’t happen.
– Smooth the way, win the business.
To find out more and consider other barrier solutions why not come along to the next Salient Seminar: ‘What’s Stopping You?’ Details HERE.
To me there are three possible answers to this.
(The ‘not quite hilarious’ answer is number 3.)
At the end I will challenge you to find a fourth!
3 possible answers:
1/ When I was part of the ‘corporate world’; field-selling and directing sales for larger companies; the glib answer to this was ‘None’, that’s the Marketer’s job’. This old chestnut was coined by territorial salesmen who neither understood nor respected the valuable work done by the marketers (or ‘marketeers’ as some like to call themselves). The reply was at best, mildly amusing, but, to me, it simply emphasized the big divide between the sales and marketing departments.
For whatever size of business, sales and marketing need to work together. Good marketing raises your profile and attracts new customers but does not ‘win’ the business. Sales skills are needed when the new prospects contact your business. Good marketing can result in a much faster and easier sale as you avoid having to find and make contact with new prospects. But remember; the sale will not just happen; you will still need to pitch, negotiate and close, and then manage the new client.
2/ The real answer to ‘how many sales people…?’ If the marketing has been done effectively, then the customer will have realised;
- the value of a light bulb (it’s gone dark), thus identifying the need, and….
- a good idea of how the product (the light bulb) is applied (screwed-in).
A helpful sales person may then show the customer how to achieve more light by buying and inserting the new bulb, thus, fulfilling the need. However, at the end of the day, it is the customer’s responsibility to actually screw-in the bulb. So, again, the answer is ‘none’!
3/ The answer is 2; one holds the light bulb still, while the sales manager makes the world revolve around him (as he likes to think it does)….
HERE’S THE CHALLENGE: let me know your suggestions for answers to the question:
HOW MANY SALES PEOPLE DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A LIGHT BULB?!!
Answers may be humorous, ironic, or simply thought-provoking. The best entry will win a half-day of one-to-one sales & marketing coaching, aimed at lighting the way ahead for your business and helping you to grow your sales. (This can be in person at the Salient office in Royal Wootton Bassett, or by Skype and email.)
The winner will be decided on May 31st 2015.
WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT ‘TECHNICAL SALES TRAINING’ ?
Good, standard ‘Sales Training’ covers all the bases and offers proven skills and techniques that result in excellent sales conversion in any market.
‘Technical Sales Training’ does all of the above, but also adds in the extra level of skill needed to sell into technical markets, such as:
- Identifying all decision makers, technical and commercial
- Building relationships with engineers as well as buyers
- Understanding and adapting to the different needs of technical and commercial personnel
- Ensuring all specification and quality needs are addressed as well as price, deliveryand other commercial requirements
General Sales Training can be adapted for individual businesses, but it is Technical Sales Training that covers all the issues that can be experienced when two very diverse mindsets have to be satisfied before a sale can happen.
CASE STUDY (personal experience as a sales novice; from the early part of my sales career!)
A large established customer specialising in car instrumentation needed specialist electronic circuitry to be manufactured in significant quantities.
The Chief Engineer called me in and over 4-5 months our parts were prototyped, quality checked and ‘designed-in’. The Chief was very pleased and said the order for the first million parts would be with us in a matter of weeks.
Nothing happened and contact attempts were ignored so I made another appointment to see him. At this meeting I learned that our main rival had won the business! The Chief was furious as he had not had parts from them and had not met with any of their personnel. He wanted to give us the business but had been over-ruled by the purchasing department who had approved our competitors using an extensive paperwork exercise(!)
The lessons: Always involve both technical and commercial personnel in any sales approach, and avoid assumptions, such as who is the decision maker.
I never made that mistake again!
This is a classic example of just one of the issues that can be faced when selling into technical markets. There are many more as it is rare that technical personnel understand the needs and priorities of the commercial department, and vice versa.
Those skilled in technical sales can overcome all these issues and more.
The courses are ideal for technicians and engineers moving into sales as well as for commercially trained personnel needing to sell into technical markets.
For more information, contact Andy on 01793 843118, or 07941 041364, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Not good at selling? Join our ISMM courses in sales & marketing.
Good at selling & want to prove it? Join our ISMM courses, starting April.
Salient Sales & Training is proud to announce the opportunity for our clients to join Institute of Sales & Marketing Management courses to achieve an Award, Certificate or Diploma in Sales and Marketing to level 2 or level 3.
Salient has teamed up with Green Labyrinth to provide these courses which will start in April 2015.
For more details please call or email Andy at Salient.
WHY IS SELLING INTO TECHNICAL MARKETS THAT MUCH MORE
DIFFICULT AND COMPLICATED?
I spent nearly 20 years selling various products and services into technical markets. During this time I developed a ‘best practice’ sales process that could be applied to any business. However, technical markets require an added layer of expertise, over and above the ‘standard’ approach. Often there are barriers to making a sale which are difficult for those who were trained in a different discipline to appreciate and to overcome.
Nine times out of ten, the problems in selling to technical clients are those of communication, or rather the lack of it. The biggest issue of all? – Finding the real decision maker(s).
Unless you are dealing with very small companies, there is much separation between technical departments and commercial departments. This separation is often physical and cultural. In many cases the two disciplines have different structures, priorities, thought processes, jargon, decision making processes etc. It is hardly surprising that each discipline requires a different sales approach.
Sometimes, just one of the departments, purchasing or technical, is involved, but this is rare, and in such cases technical sales skills will still be required.
In smaller companies, it is common for the decision makers two wear at least two hats and sometimes it is necessary that the roles and responsibilities of both disciplines are controlled by one person. This means that the decision maker is likely to be either an engineer attempting to grasp the essentials of sales and the commercial processes, or, they are business-trained and working hard to define the technical aspects of their need. In either case they would benefit from learning the priorities, needs and requirements of their ‘secondary’ discipline.
Important tip: don’t just take the word of the first contact you make that they are the decision maker. They may believe they are but there are likely to be others who will seek and expect to at least influence that decision, if not take the responsibility themselves. It is important to engage with everyone involved, technical and commercially based.
What we do to help
Salient offers a two, three or four day course in Technical Sales Training, covering sales essentials and the extra layers of skill needed to overcome the barriers and to improve sales conversion and success.
Our latest course was presented to a team from a French company based in Bordeaux. Feedback from the course was very positive, with the team managers saying:
“ The delegates were from non-English speaking background with varying degrees of experience. Each person found the training offered useful for our day-to-day sales programme. We were also able to identify new marketing strategies to put into effect immediately. Thank you!”
Technical Sales Training in Bordeaux
“ A very enjoyable and fruitful experience to help us think more sales and less technical”
For more details, click here, or contact Andy on 01793 843118 or 07941 041364