Archives for July 2013

3 Ways to Respond to a Surprise Request from Your Satisfied Prospect

three_wallDoes this sound familiar?

Out of the blue I just received an email from a ‘marquis’ prospect inviting us to provide pricing for a one day training event. The will be in October at their national sales meeting. Our response is required within the next week.

Here is where it gets interesting, so let me provide a little background for you.

We began our initial conversation last July at a trade show here in San Francisco. Since then we have developed very deep relationships at all levels within their sales organization that understand how our experience and model can benefit them.

However with the internal support of these relationships we were able to schedule an appointment with their key decision maker, let’s call her Pam. I think Pam agreed to our appointment out of courtesy to her peers, plus maybe a little bit out of curiosity. Hey, some of her peers have more of my business cards than I do!

The meeting began with the typical introductory and transitioned to a rich conversation that reveled more about her requirements and expectations. The 45 minutes that was scheduled extended into an hour and a half conversation.

At the end of our meeting while driving to the airport my business associate and I felt that we had connected with Pam and her team, we understand her industry and have a clear understanding of her needs, but we both agreed that the ‘timing’ was simply not in our favor.

Sound familiar?

Moreover Pam was happy with her current training source and had renewed their two year contract effective January of this year. My thoughts were for them to remain in our pipeline and with my new information I am now better equipped to create a strategic follow up process.

So that is the background. In reading Pam’s email, we may or may not have a long awaited opportunity. With the above facts, let’s look at a few potential responses. How would you react?

  1. Do we offer an immediate and enthusiastic response with our standard pricing? Thought process: this may be a trial to see how we will respond and for Pam to compare pricing.
  2. Should I take a moment to call Pam and express our interest and to find out more information about the event, their sales team’s goals and objectives and of course our ‘out of the blue’ opportunity? Thought process: I thought they were happy with their supplier, but their event may be focusing on a set of needs unique to their supplier, or conflicting schedules with company and supplier. Let’s find out more.
  3. Perhaps contact our close relationships; they may have some helpful information. If so we can then respond accordingly.

Thought process:

  • What has transpired internally that has created this request?
  • Has the political climate shifted?
  • Has the incumbent dropped the ball subsequent to our meeting?

What do you think about when a similar situation occurs? Feel free to hit reply. We would like to hear what you have to say.

(You can view the video to see which option provided the best solution.)

Own your success!

-Andy

How your Patient Pursuit can lead to Sales Success

patient_pursuit

Congratulations your foot is in the door, you have made the short list of your marquis prospect, now the buying cycle has begun.

Understanding how to ‘patiently pursue’ and win your marquis prospect will change your life and career forever.

Now that you are deep into the buying cycle, the ongoing request for ‘more’ information and adjusting to the timing, personalities and shifting priorities and circumstances of your marquis prospect can take its toll on you and your team.

Today you may be going through the emotional grind of a lengthy buying cycle and the temptation is to back off? Sound familiar? Don’t more than likely your competitor or the incumbent has done so- now is your time to excel.

Hang on

Sometimes all you need is a glimmer of hope and a reason to stay the course. Hang in there, you are almost there. The five steps below will work for you and can offer you a boost of encouragement while you are in the middle of the grind.

  1. Continue to prepare, prepare, prepare and adjust to their changing needs. Once you create new ideas and solutions you are ahead of the curve.
  2. Pursue with prepared patience. It is here that you build upon your foundation of trust that will take you into the future. You will be viewed as more consultative- because you are.
  3. Avoid taking slow progress personally especially if the timing and need aren’t right, or if there is internal political issues associated with changing.
  4. Find and expand on common ground like sports, food and education and build upon those.
  5. View and treat your prospects the way they prefer to be viewed and treated. If they view themselves as successful and influential then treat them that way. It’s a common courtesy.

A quick story for you

After a fourteen month buying cycle on Wednesday of this week we met ‘one more’ time for a Q&A with the committee of decision makers. This is always fun. One of our competitors is behind closed doors meeting with the committee-I’m giving it all that that have in hopes of success.

Directional Achievement is next in line.

As we entered the room and settled in it first appeared that this would be yet another meeting to discuss well known information. However this morning was somewhat different their CEO was present. Also ‘out of the blue’ we were asked to present our implementation strategy should they decide in our favor.

At the end of our presentation, we all shook hands and offered our thanks. The leader of the committee asked if we could remain in the room for a few minutes. We certainly agreed while the others left offering kind words of appreciation. I had a feeling that a decision had been made, and may have been made prior to our meeting. Sure enough the committee chair stood came over to shake our hands and indicated that we had won the business.

Wow! What a feeling. Our group has been blessed and will advance to yet another level of growth and service simply because we patiently pursued our marquee prospect through the buying cycle.

You can do the same. You and only you own your success.

See you in a few weeks.

-Andy