How to Succeed in Sales – Part 2 – Discovery (Mar 3, 2016)
This is the first article in the process. Remember, your process does not need to be exactly the same as mine. The importance of process is so that you do the same things over and over again. Then if an adjustment needs to be made, you can track and evaluate the results. You then delete that which doesn’t work and keep what does until you get a working model ,which works for you. You might recognize this as the engineering problem solving paradigm. In Six Sigma terms, it’s DMAIC (Design, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) See the same philosophies work across discipline lines.
Discovery is finding out if a prospect or lead works within your focus and your company’s focus. It will then be very important to understand the value that your company brings to the product and clearly understand the market which your company wants to focus on. This article does not discuss how you identify the prospect. This will be covered in another article series on ‘How to Succeed in Marketing’. Look for it on future posts.
Let’s equate Discovery to Research. So we have a prospect provided by the marketing machine. Next what to do. As I alluded to in the introduction, our job as B2B sales is to find a custom fit for our product within the prospects project. In general engineers are contacting us to get something done, in a timely manner, for which they have limited expertise and/or have failed once and our brand in the market indicates we have the expertise that they need. Our job now is to make sure we are using efficient methods and not spending our time on things, which don’t move the game forward. Research items:
Find out about the company in general
What do they do
What do they stand for in the market
Where is their expertise
Start with the Web
Is their market strong
Moving forward (increasing)
Use financial statements – if public use Financial Web
Has their revenues been increasing year over year
Has profitability been increasing year over year
Are they in a volume market or limited volume market
Unless it’s for fun – stay away from prototype developments unless you are in this for a long haul time period
The above will allow you to qualify if the lead fits the marketing position of you and your company. If we look good, move on.
The next item is to prepare a pre-call plan, which will use in the next step of the process. This is a REMEMBER: Always have plans before any communications. You want to be able to focus to move things forward efficiently. In addition, in your head is OK, if you are a seasoned professional, but I would recommend always writing it done for later review.
During the pre-call planning, always leave plenty of room for listening. As we speak with our prospect, it’s all about his problem and not yours. Solve his problem and yours will automatically be solved.
Moving forward the objective is to provide a consultive sale. You want to be a ‘value’ resource. This will be very important later when we are doing the final negotiations on a deal. Remember, you provide more than product for a competitive price. You provide you that cannot be replaced elsewhere. This is your personal value add. In my case it was always in fabrication, engineering, or project management that I could bring to getting something done.
People Buy From People
Relationship is the strongest component of success on any one deal
Does the customer recognize a need and does he understand this
Understand the buying process within the Prospect account – are you speaking with all the right people
Positioning is important for Success. The most valuable position is the ‘Value Add’ position. Commodity sales, where you are bidding against three or more vendors is just a price erosion technique employed by buyers. For high volume value sales stay away from this type.
Also you are looking for solutions which will stay in manufacturing for a while. Repeat sales is a key to account efficiency. One shot deals may help the customer, but don’t help you much. It is far easier to get a repeat sale than start from the beginning again each time.
Something to Remember:
New Business from scratch has a 1:14 success to failure ratio
Referral business has a 1:4
Finally – repeat business has a 1:2
You decide where you want to spend a majority of your time.