You are selling innovation. You believe in your solutions and methodologies. You represent a solid channel partner company with impeccable credentials.
Your customer still gets unnerved somewhere along the sales cycle, don’t they?
What happens next gets played out again and again, like the movie Ground Hog Day. You haven’t quite managed to get it right, consistently, to raise your revenue stream to meet target.
You are selling innovation: your idea of innovation.
You and your company are exquisitely plugged into the state of the IT industry: past, present and future. You are prepared to arm your prospects and current customers with state of the art solutions.
That’s why your customers lose confidence in what you are proposing.
It’s not about what you are selling or even how you are selling.
Your customers lose courage because you gave them an epiphany. Your innovations are light years ahead of where their company currently is situated.
It’s more than their current state of IT. Your customers’ companies are mired in their own self-constructed status quo.
You are selling innovation to business models which are unprepared to accommodate change.
It’s more than working even harder to overcome buying committee objections. It’s more than setting up one more free trial period or yet another demo.
Your customers lose their nerve because of their own context and history. Your customers become discouraged because they are doing business the same way they did 5 years ago, even longer.
Your customers are less confident because they are small to midsize businesses, perhaps with outsourced IT. They have no idea how to utilize what they outsourced because it is light-years behind what you are proposing to them.
Your customers hesitate because they haven’t dusted off their business models and taken a solid look at their infrastructure… for years.
Your customers become nervous because of perilously faulty hand-offs between the executive team and management and between sales and IT. That’s where they know the lines of communication often become blurred.
Except that your customers haven’t shared their little secrets with you.
Because you did not dig deep enough to discover and establish the context of their discomfort as you were focused on selling innovation to them.
Your customers’ idea of innovation is very different than the innovation your company has mandated that you sell.
There’s a disconnect. A big one.
You and your sales engineers are jazzed about selling innovation and demo-ing features and benefits.
Your customers have that deer in headlights look. The more you spiel, the greater their perception of how unprepared they are to place anyone’s IT solutions into their current business model.
That little question you overlooked asking is what derails your business development process and sales cycle.
The question isn’t: “What keeps you up at night?” (Please tell me you don’t use that question, at all.)
The question is: “What is your vision for leveraging IT solutions in driving current and future revenue through your organization?”
If the folks you are selling to will not or do not know how to respond, it’s time to re-calibrate your strategy. Determine whether that customer is indeed: a) qualified and b) ready to buy.
Why waste your resources and expertise selling innovation to status quo customers who are unwilling to be forthright with you regarding their own capabilities for absorbing your IT innovation?
Find out what they really need from your company. While it may not be innovation – to you – the solutions you are able to place may, indeed, move their companies light years ahead in productivity and profitability.
Get these prospects to where they need to be. That place is “innovation” to these status quo customers. Nothing less. Nothing more.
This post was brought to you by IBM for MSPs and opinions are my own.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps companies, startups and family-owned businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. She and her clients co-create Playbooks, resulting in more productive, profitable and healthy organizations. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact her here.