Now that we’ve suggested what owners can do to help sales productivity (see last week’s Coffee), what can the Salesperson do?
It begins with the question, Who is controlling the conversation, you or the client? You would be surprised. Often the client takes us down some pretty rugged roads.
But first: let’s agree that the goal of the first meeting is to get affirmation on something. Hopefully an actual order, but at least an agreed-upon scope of work with which the client is comfortable.
It goes without saying that establishing trust, piquing the client’s interest with relevant (their situation) information, having a friendly tone, and showing empathy are all key components.
In the context of selling a luxury solution, we always need to narrow the conversation. For this “qualifying” piece there are three potential paths:
Will our standard luxury elements – the build blocks we use in 80% of our projects – work for this client’s situation? The building blocks help us frame the opportunity. If our standard but unique options fit, you may not need to go further. You should be able to quote it almost off the top of your head. And ask for a commitment, immediately. A given: Your company is capable of defining its building blocks.
If there are more custom or complex considerations, you’ve got more of a “Made to Order” solutions. These opportunities may differ from your standard offerings by 20% to 50%, with many of the standard pieces still in place. As such, they should be quotable in a fast turn-around time. Maybe not a fully engineered quote, but you can explain you provide a design proposal that allows them to make a decision, while anticipating some revisions prior to project start.
If the opportunity is well beyond your standard designs, you need to consider the challenge of the work that will need to be performed. You should ask for a personalization design fee because others designers and engineers will be involved in creating the solution. This is truly the “bespoke” option and should not be confused with the first two. If a highly custom client will not spend 2% of the project value on getting the requirements right, then he is probably setting you up for failure.
As a salesperson, you must make every engagement work. Every encounter must move forward. Not every customer should be a customer for your company. Chasing iteration after iteration and spending too much time educating without moving the project ahead will burn up valuable selling hours; time you could spend with clients who want to work with you.
Not every client is the same or needs the same solution. Finding a way to determine that on your first visit will greatly increase your productivity and success.
You can regain control of the conversation if you go into it with a game plan.
Good Luck and Good Selling,