Over last couple of months, I've been working on a major project at my day job. I have decided that it's time to replace our backup system with what's called an enterprise backup solution. This means we want to be able to manage all of our backups from a central location.
We are getting near end of bidding process for this project. It's been very interesting what with recession and all. A year ago, when I asked for a price reduction on anything I was often laughed at or given just a token discount of a couple percent. Now I am getting deep cuts of thirty to fifty percent! One thing that I am learning is that while recessions are not good things, they do give buyer more of an advantage than in a strong economy.
Where was I? Oh yes, I've been gathering information, bids, competitive data and lots of other things that I need to make a decision. You see, this is not a cheap solution and problem is complex. Thus, I want to be sure that I can honestly sell whole thing to my boss. When he asks me questions I want to be able to answer immediately.
The salespeople are getting very frustrated with this process. They are, quite frankly, not used to selling. My staff and I have noticed that salespeople in computer business are, well, fat, dumb and lazy. Even though we are talking about a quarter of a million dollar project, people just don't want to do any work.
Finally one of salespeople came right out and told me he was very frustrated. He did not understand why I had not yet purchased his product. He had given me price quotes, a competitive analysis and a product specification. In his mind, he had done everything he needed to do.
I sat back in my chair for a minute, thinking about his question. It didn't take me long to formulate my thoughts.
"Tim", I said, "What I want is for you to sell me your product."
Tim was very surprised by this answer. He explained that he thought he was already doing that.
"No Tim", I replied, "what you are doing is giving me canned presentations, printing prepared specifications and comparisons off your web site, and pulling numbers from your price sheet. You are not selling me anything."
Tim honestly didn't understand - what was wrong with his approach?
Here's what I want from a salesperson. Listen to me and my staff. Really listen. Don't be thinking about sale, about your wife or your commission. No, listen to me. I have patiently explained what problems we are trying to resolve, and I have asked my staff to explain what they want. We are very good communicators so you should be understanding what we are trying to say.
Now if you've been listening so you should know exactly how to solve our problems. Go back to your office, sit down at your desk and turn off your phone. Type on computer exactly how your product will solve problems and concerns that me and my staff have presented to you.
Don't tell me why people want your product and don't tell me about your product. Tell me how your product solves problems that we have explained to you.
Yes, I need to see specifications, but you need to explain why your product is better at meeting our requirements than anyone else. You say you've listened, okay, then prove it.