Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford

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Control Your Sales Process - February 9, 2019

Who is in control of your sales process? Is it you or your prospect? Why does it matter so long as you get the close?

 

The answer to the last question is the most important and drives the answers to the other two. Absolutely, it matters who is in control even if you get the close, because it will set the stage for all remaining deals to come. And, if the prospect or customer is in control, well then you are not and that is a big problem.

 

Who chooses the delivery dates for your products or services? Who sets the price? Who chooses the payment terms? I must implore you to remain in control of your sales process. Certainly, there are negotiating factors that come into play, such as discounts on shorter payment terms, but those discounts must be offered by you and not just given to the prospect or customer upon request. 10NET30 may not be a setting in your accounting system, so how will you account for this discount if you cave and give it to the customer? What if the prospect is putting a lot of pressure on you to start the project next week and you say yes? Doesn’t do you any good if your project team is already booked out for the next two weeks. You gave in and said yes to a request that you had no control over and now you must either convince your team to make an accommodation in their schedule or you need to ask the customer for forgiveness in that you cannot actually start their project for two weeks.

 

Being in control of your sales process does not mean you need to be hard-nosed throughout the entire engagement. Nor does it give you license to be a cocky jerk with a “my way or no way” attitude. Being in control simply means being transparent. Your price is your price. Your terms are your terms. You can start their project as soon as your team has availability in their calendar. Your customer will buy from you if they believe you are the best fit and will appreciate the honesty and transparency of your sales process.

 

Being in control also means that you are in control from day one. There is no reason to work through the sales process in shadows up until the closing process only then to become transparent with your prospect or customer. In other words, be as open, honest, and transparent on the first day or the sales process as you would be asking for the signature or PO#.

True Value - February 2, 2019

True value, no not the hardware store, but your true value is a business asset that should never be taken for granted. Unfortunately, all too often we do not place enough true value on ourselves, our time, our knowledge, or our company, and clients may take advantage of this situation. While I do believe there are certain clients that will take advantage of you at every turn, something about the way they do business, not everyone will take advantage of you intentionally. You may be equally at fault for allowing someone to take advantage because not only do they not grasp your true value, you don’t understand your true value either.

 

What do I mean by true value? Take for example, in the world of professional services, that a client will hire you for your knowledge, experience, and capability to execute in a manner for which they lack the same skill set. Your true value is a multiple (or x factor) of the following: your education and credentials, years of experience in dealing with similar challenges, and possessing the knowledge on how to execute a solution to the client’s problem. What happens then, after the client hires you, when they want you to change the manner in which you work? They want you to adapt to their environment rather than working within your own. They begin by asking and later demand that you “teach” them what you are doing and how you are doing it. They do not place any value on your experience and capabilities, and if you allow them to exude such behavior, then you too do not know your true value.

 

Sales people are pleasers. Sales people want to please their clients by providing a product or service that meets their needs. Sales people want to please their management by closing at or above their set quota and want to bring good clients to the company. Sales people, first and foremost, must always know their true value or what they bring to the table. In doing so, they will be much better prepared to hold steady throughout the sales process, thus not allowing the client to take advantage of them or their company. Clients too, when dealing with a sales person that truly knows their true value in the negotiating process, will treat the sales process with a great level of respect, enthusiasm, and will appreciate how the deal gets done.

 

Know who you are, what you stand for, the knowledge you possess and that this knowledge is not free to others, and you will gain a greater perspective on your own true value. Be confident but not cocky. Be sincere and empathetic with your client. Trust that displaying your true value will be appreciated and in return you will gain a great amount of success.