Are your IT sales calls productive?
Or do you often feel like you're playing the small business IT version of the television gameshow, Jeopardy, with Alex Trebek?
"Alex, I'll take WiFi Security for $1,000!"
IT sales calls shouldn't be about participating in half-baked attempts at a screening process.
These meetings also shouldn't be about providing free consulting.
Know Why You're Really at the Meeting
If you own or manage a small business computer consulting firm, VAR, network integrator, computer repair business, or IT solution provider, the #1 purpose of an IT sales call with most small business decision makers is to find out if you get along well enough together to suggest the next logical step... usually some kind of small initial proving ground project.
Really. The entire purpose of the meeting is to size up the potential client, in the same way that the potential client is sizing up your firm.
Do the owners, managers, and other staff you've met seem like reasonable folks? Are their expectations in line with their budget?
Weed Out the Nut Jobs
Or does this client look like something out of Friday the 13th... where some psycho named Jason wearing a hockey mask is going to torment you because he's angry that his favorite software program is no longer supported?
If you are going out to visit a nut job prospective client who brought you and your partner into his office and locked the door from the inside because he was convinced that all his employees were out to get him, run away – quickly.
Seriously, you should be checking prospective clients out in the same way that prospective clients are checking you out.
Plan for IT Sales Calls Done Right
And when you come in prepared, calm, cool, collected, and professional, as opposed to acting desperate and clueless, you'll be in a much better position to listen carefully, ask the right open-ended questions, and determine whether this is a desirable future client... or a client who's going to drown you in months of misery before having to be "fired" six months down the road.
Remember, some of the best client acquisition decisions you can make for your business's long-term health are those prospects that you conclude with "sorry, no thanks."
Share Your Thoughts
What do you do to make your IT sales calls more productive? Let us know in the Comments section below.
Creative Commons Image Source: flickr JoeDuck