Rick recommends sales training materials from Dale Carnegie and Sandler. In the Sandler Training, you focus on identifying on the ‘customer pain’. You learn to probe to see if you can help thereby clarifying the project scope, requirements, stakeholders, ….
Terms and Conditions
Rick has several interesting recommendations with respect to an integrator’s terms and conditions. For instance, their billing terms are:
- 40% of total system cost due upon Superior Controls receipt of order
- 30% upon submittal of the detailed I/O List and Functional Specification
- 20% upon execution of SFAT or shipment, whichever comes first
- 10% upon completion of SAT execution, but no later than 30 days after shipment
Payment of invoices is net 30 days. Payment of field engineering services is net due upon receipt of invoice. Interest of 1.5% per month will be charged to all invoices outstanding after 30 days.
They also specify their delivery relative to the acceptance of the Functional Specification. No need to get caught with a time constraint because the customer could not agreed to work that needs to be done. Rick also believes it is important to include a non-solicitation clause. And, they maintain intellectual property rights – but licenses the customer to use and copy (but not resell or redistribute) that IP.
Rick also had several recommendations for reducing company overhead. For instance, he prefers to keep the organization flat (minimal management) and expect more from employees. But, he does recommend an ‘Estimator’ to oversee all ordering. He also advocates the use of administrative assistants responsible for minimizing time and effort of engineering (i.e. documentation set up). And, he says that they have no receptionist or operator – instead relying on technology.
With reduced management, there is an increased need for good performance monitoring. So, for fixed price projects, it is important to track all engineering hours and material costs – both estimates and actual. It is critical that your engineering staff are completing projects to the specifications and not just filling the available time.