In IT consulting sales, you are the product. You are selling your expertise, your competence, and your ability to positively influence and deliver solutions to your customers' problems.
How do you persuade a prospect to buy from you and not the IT consultant down the block? It is certainly not by employing hard-selling tactics. The hard sell may work for one-off sales, but if you want to build a business with recurring revenue from long-term clients and service contracts, then that tactic is not going to help you reach your goal.
You need to build a relationship with prospects. How do we know this? Research tells us that prospects are likely to choose a vendor for some or all of the following reasons:
They know you; they are familiar with you and your IT consulting service.
They trust you; you have become a trusted advisor.
Your price is right; they see the value in your proposition.
Your service is good; they know your track record.
Jim Cathcart, an internationally renowned sales expert, sums the issue up well, “A relationship without a sale is called a friendship, but a sale without a relationship is called a vending machine.”
If you fall into the category of “vending machine,” and have no ongoing relationship with your prospect or customer, then how is your prospect or customer going to know all these things about you? They don’t! Therefore, they are unlikely to spend their IT consulting budget on you.
So how do you make sure that your IT consulting sales process is a customer-centric one, using relationship selling techniques? To start with, you’ll need to:
Connect with prospects and customers, wherever they are: social media, email, networking events, and conferences/tradeshows.
Listen to what your prospects and customers want. Do not assume that you already know; engage with them and find out.
Show that you care about their needs; tailor your offering to meet their requirements. Make sure that you resolve their problems with advice and assistance.
Check-in frequently. Yes, even after the sale. Don't just vanish off their radar.
Customer loyalty and relationship selling are intimately interwoven. If you build your IT consulting sales process to reflect the above, not only will you gain yourself a repeat customer who you can sign-up for an IT support contract, but you will also have found someone who will evangelize your service. They may well become a customer for life and will certainly provide referrals and testimonials.
Getting the relationship right is vital. It has to be done with honesty and integrity, or your efforts will fall flat. By getting it wrong, you would also be in danger of damaging your reputation and negatively affect your future sales potential.
Relationship selling works as an IT consulting sales strategy. All you need to do is look at your current sales process and then map out the changes needed. It is a change in mindset, but it is one that you can achieve. Make these changes and you will soon start to see a real difference in your sales.
Feel free to Comment below and ask any questions that you might have about changing your IT consulting sales strategy. Or if you have already made the change, we would love to hear about your experiences as well.
And to follow through on the consulting sales tips introduced in this short article, be sure to enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.