One of the classic firing’s on Donald Trump’s show, The Apprentice, occurred in the second show. One of the teams was working on an advertising campaign for a company selling seats on private jets for the corporate traveler. Because of time restraints, the team leader decided not to meet the CEO of the client whose project he was working on. According to Trump, that by itself was enough reason to justify firing the team leader.
He was right! But, how about this one? How many times have you seen a sales rep meet with the CEO, but still accomplish nothing in the meeting? In my book, that is also enough of a reason to get fired by the customer (meaning, no deal).
In order to avoid anymore firings on this issue, and, more importantly, to ensure you get the business, here are a few principles you should adhere to when trying to secure the deal.
1. Make sure you call on all the buying influences: The Comparative Influence – compares your product features and price to the competition; The End User – those who will be actually using your products and services; and, The Economic Buyer – the person who has to approve the deal. In some cases, the Economic Buyer will reside in the C Suite (CFO, CEO, COO, etc). In some cases, they may be the Director of Purchasing. Whatever the case, make sure you call high enough in the organization to solidify your value proposition. You want to move the sales process from being transactional to a value based decision. Transactions are usually commodity based decisions made at lower levels. Value based decisions will often include input from executives higher up on the food chain.
2. When speaking to decision makers, make sure you find out what they are striving to achieve, what’s missing for them, and the stakes involved if they don’t achieve the desired results. .
3. Present your solution in terms of outcomes and how they best meet the needs of the decision maker relative to the opportunities uncovered in point number 2.
4. Remember this at all times: If you do not have the same view point as the customer does, you will be considered being out of touch and you will lose the business.
So, find out how the customer views things. And, for your sake, find out how the person who is behind the decision views things. If you don’t, then prepare yourself for these words—–You’re Fired!!!