If you’ve been in the NI Alliance Partner business for long, you realize that technical know-how is great, but selling is key to your success. From beginning a sales engagement and gathering requirements through proposing, negotiating, and closing the sale, there are many things that can prevent you from ever applying that great technical knowledge.
Selling begins with that first customer contact after the lead is generated. Actually, some argue that selling is part of the marketing process itself. But, marketing, well that’s topic in and of itself. So, let’s assume that the lead has already been generated.
- Preparation – what is required for the proper opening? Gather all known and available information about the prospects. Based on the source of the lead, what do we know about the potential customer (e.g. needs, care-abouts)? What was the value proposition that he has already encountered? Also, has there been any prior contact, maybe they are already a customer. Of course, the amount of preparation should be proportional to the anticipated size of the opportunity.
- Opening – Always have down pat how you are going to introduce yourself and your company. Often, this is akin to your positioning statement. That should be followed quickly by the purpose of the meeting or call.
- Expectations – Then, set the expectations for what you want to accomplish. Agree to the agenda and how much time that both parties have. In addition to ensuring that you understand the purpose and agenda, this will allow you to take control and set the tone for the meeting.
The old adage applies; there is only one chance to make a first impression. Don’t miss your opportunity to make it a good one.