Ask Questions - Learn Pain Points - Solve Problems
Sell Like a Pro Not an Amatuer
When it comes to selling technology solutions, specifically, there are many different factors at play. There is the needed service, the equipment to utilize the service, and the way that the customer will pay for their technology equipment.
Only discovering the features and functionality needed is what most novice sales executives focus on. The professionals know, that to differentiate, they must be involved in the total solution recommendation. This consists of what the customer should buy, and how they should buy it.
Because technology equipment is a high price tag acquisition, asking for a big fat check isn’t always the most logical answer. The more involved you get into learning about your customer’s financial, business, and technical concerns, the more you can tailor a credible total solution recommendation that will make sense. This helps you take a more consultative approach. Turning you into a true sales professional, not just an order taker.
Only discovering the features and functionality needed is what most novice sales executives focus on.
The following eight questions were designed to help you discover your customer’s future, financial, and technical support needs so you can insert yourself into the financial side of the sale. These questions stimulate your prospect's thought process, while helping you position a total business solution and differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Planning -
1. How has technology affected your organization in the past three years?
Get an understanding about the role technology has played with your prospect in their recent past. Has it been essential to their growth? Has it caused more headaches than help? Has it hindered their growth? Get a good understanding of the details in how technology has affected them. If you can gather an understanding about the past, you will be able to position a solution that will help prevent the negative past issues from arising and protect the positive aspects in the future.
2. What are the growth expectations for your company over the next three to five years?
When you understand the vision of the organization you can make sure everything you offer plays into helping them reach those growth expectations. If there is big change on the horizon, you can include make sure to recommend protection, so their technology does not hold them back from reaching their goals.
3. As it relates to this decision, what are your greatest concerns?
This is a sales 101 type question. Learn what they are concerned about so you can work towards settling their apprehension. Dig deep, and uncover those pain points. This can help you differentiate yourself in your recommendations.
- Procurement -Amateur sales representatives get uncomfortable when having to ask the important financial questions. But, those who have the confidence to dig in and collect this important information are the ones who can differentiate themselves from competition and add more value to a sale than most.
4. At this time, how important is cash OR working capital to your business? Why?
Validating the importance of working capital is essential if you are going to get involved in making a recommendation on how the prospect should pay for their equipment. If you want to recommend a lease or an X as a Service payment model over a cash purchase you need to gauge if the company values having working capital. If working capital is important, then choosing a cash purchase is counterintuitive when there are other options that help reserve that cash flow.
5. How does your company usually procure technology? Why?
Identifying past practices and intent allows you to prepare accordingly. Do they usually pay cash, bank loans, lease and why? The answer in the why holds valuable intelligence. For example, if they’ve only chosen to pay cash because it is what they’ve always known, this is where you can insert your industry expertise. Expose options that make more logical business sense. This can open the door to recommend a more valuable option.
6. Is it safe to assume that a part of the decision criteria will be the net effect to the bottom line? Bottom line cost analysis allows financial experts to measure and weigh the entire cost over time.
- Service -
7. On a scale From1–10, how important will this new system be to your daily business needs (10 being mission critical)?
This question acts as a great reminder to the customer on how mission critical the equipment is to their bottom line. This type of question sets you up to be able to recommend multiyear support when time to propose.
8. What would happen if your system was down for a day or more? What type of economic impact would that have on your company?
Understanding this answer and question seven’s answer should allow you to layer in multi-year maintenance with greater credibility.
It's Important To Remember
The discovery process is a fact-finding mission. This isn't the time to sell or start proposing. Identifying the prospect's pain points and concerns early will give you greater control over the sale, while establishing credibility with the customer. You may find that the answers to these questions will pull you into a presentation!
The more involved you get into learning about your customer’s financial, business, and technical concerns, the more you can tailor a credible total solution recommendation that will make sense. This helps you take a more consultative approach.