by: Karen Cayamanda
Friday, December 16, 2011 |
IT service providers continuously engage in innovation especially when it comes to product and service development. Their sales techniques, however, come as an exception. Buyers observed that they have been using the same methods since time immemorial and these tricks only bring about frustration rather than an actual sale. Based on consumer and market feedback, Stephanie Overby of CIO.com produced a list of the least effective sales techniques employed by IT service providers.
Can you hear me now?
Service providers miss out on understanding their customers’ specific needs because their perspective is based solely on standard set delivery models. Outsourcing companies are found to propose packages that suit their own business needs and furthermore compromise customer requirements just so it fits a solution that’s convenient for them.
Alternative: Sincerely listen to every customer’s requirements before carrying on with the usual spiel. Afterwards, present only service offerings relevant to their needs.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
A typical salesperson starts any endeavor with an adequate amount of research. Then they start a meeting with highlights on net profit ratios and effects on EBITDA. While these technicalities are useful to mention, they are not effective to spearhead a sales pitch.
Alternative: Tone down the sales and use real subject matter topics that are worth your clients’ time.
Death by a thousand slides.
With the usual sales call’s long and dragging PowerPoint presentations, you’re bound to think the number of slides impact commission. This is not at all helpful in pursuing a deal.
Alternative: Engross your clients in an actual conversation. Talk to them, hear out their needs and concerns, and address their questions. You will easily be handpicked among a sea of PowerPoint slides flashed by competitors.
The old bait and switch.
Providers create an illusion of high service delivery by bringing in a VIP in a meeting with a client. They say a big shot will be dedicated to your project when the truth is, same top performers are also being promised to other clients and you’ll never see those VIPs again.
Alternative: Take in an actual client. Fly in a customer and treat him/her to a nice stay at a resort nearby. Bring your customer in the meeting and allow the prospect to ask questions.
I’m the XXX Expert.
Introducing people with varying titles to reflect industry expertise is a marketing strategy that clients can detect. Most of the time, the same pool of people is utilized to service all existing clients.
Alternative: Work on becoming an industry expert and ask your clients valuable questions that can lead to crafting effective and customized solutions.
A deal until the lawyers arrive.
There exist providers who start with fair and mutually benefiting agreements that are eventually overhauled with new terms and clauses by a legal department. Customers find a gap between what has been agreed upon to what they are being made to sign.
Alternative: Define terms and develop negotiating options with your lawyers. It also helps to revisit your business objectives to be reminded of what you can and ought to provide customers.
The last-minute price drop.
Outsourcing deals are crafted to deliver at least 20 to 30 percent profit margin. This gives providers leeway for a price drop. Then again, when a significant discount is suddenly offered to a customer, it can rouse apprehension among buyers. It’s either their provider was initially trying to extort more money out of them, or the discount will lead to lower profit and equally lower service quality.
Alternative: There is no need for surprises. It’s far more assuring to customers if providers remain transparent with pricing all throughout the deal.
Burying the lead.
Salespeople are fond of the slow buildup before they get to an actual selling proposition. Customers want a solution that’s straight to the point, a proposal that will clearly reduce costs and improve efficiency in their practice.
Alternative: In your next presentation, open with the grand finale. Start with the supposed final spiel, your value proposition in summary.
The never-ending check-ins.
Consistent follow-up calls can be annoying. Customers find it irritating and unproductive.
Alternative: Stop being a bother after checking in with the prospect thrice. Stop calling or sending messages. They will reach out to you when they need you.
A typical sales lead will exhaust efforts in convincing internal management that a new prospect has potential and can be a good deal. More time and resources are spent selling internally rather than making a pitch to the client.
Alternative: Focus more time and resources on understanding a client’s needs.