Every integrator knows by now that they can’t walk into a customer’s office or sit down with a prospect and start spewing statistics about the specifications of particular products.
And those who’ve attended AV conferences recently know that focusing too much time in what could be your only chance to dazzle a client on how many offices you have or the big projects you’ve done in the past is more likely to make them pull out their phones than the corporate checkbook.
These days, it’s more important than ever to ensure your company and all of the people who work for it carry the same corporate culture and are thinking primarily about how to meet the needs of the client. “If you continue to sell to the same buyer, you’re going to keep having the same conversations,” said Tiffani Bova, growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce, during a recent panel discussion at the PSNI Supersummit in Atlanta. “It’s as simple or as complicated as changing the person you’re talking to.
“If you can find a way to partner the business outcome buyer to the procurement department, you might have a more productive conversation,” she said.
Challenge Yourself to Find a New Approach to Sales
Sales conversations shouldn’t just be about closing the deal or hyping up new products or cool projects, said Matt Dixon, chief product and research officer at Tethr, during the discussion.
“Salespeople who develop the reputation of bringing new insights get invited back,” he said. “You can get involved in the sales process earlier by doing social selling.” That’s developing relationships on social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and more.
The so-called work horses on your sales teams are the ones who are most likely to try new sales methods and have success with them, rather than the top performers, who might wonder why you’re asking them to do something differently.
So how do AV integrators become like Starbucks, meaning customers will go out of their way to find them and ensure they’re the solution to whatever technology issue they’re dealing with at a particular time?
“Find something that resonates with you, deconstruct why and inject that into your own business,” said Bova. “Go on a listening tour with the customers you’ve had for a long time and the ones you’ve lost. Don’t defend or try to sell. Just listen to them and you’ll be surprised what you learn.
“You need somebody whose full-time job is listening to your customers. You have to make sure you have that feedback loop between what you think your value proposition is and what your customer thinks it is,” she said.
“Keeping them as a customer is about the effort of the experience and the stickiness of products,” said Dixon. “You don’t want to be in the free consulting business, but you want to tell your customer what makes you unique and how you can deliver that to them.”
The so-called work horses on your sales teams are the ones who are most likely to try new sales methods and have success with them, rather than the top performers, who might wonder why you’re asking them to do something differently than how they’ve had previous success, said Bova.
“Even at the management level, you may have to make difficult decisions to make change happen,” she said.
Dixon emphasized that changing your company’s sales strategy is “not an issue of skill. It’s an issue of will.”