While qualified leads are pretty valuable, closing sales and contracts with new potential clients are even more valuable. In this short post, you’ll learn some simple IT sales strategies to help you close deals faster with new clients.
So that basic question is, “How do I close a sale or a contract with a potential customer?”
Differentiate Between Closing a Sale vs. Closing a Contract
First, you have to differentiate between the two parts of this question. There is a big difference between closing a sale and closing a contract.
In this context, the term “sale” means the initial transaction with a new customer.
An initial sale can be quite different from a contract, usually a long-term deal, generally a support agreement, or a service agreement that lasts at least one year.
Unless you have the luxury of working for an IT business with a pre-existing client base, there is a pretty good chance that you are going to have to make the initial sale. Relationships and credibility need to be established with customers before you can make repeat sales and then ultimately transition those relationships into long-term support contracts.
Don’t Propose “Marriage” on Your “First Date”
One of the biggest mistake technology providers make with their IT sales strategy is trying to close a long-term, very high-value sale to a prospective customer with whom they have never done business.
While this approach may seem relatively harmless at first, it can have several negative consequences:
It lets prospective customers know that you care more about your own immediate financial interests than the long-term relationship.
It lengthens the sales cycle unnecessarily because of the risk perception on the part of the prospective customers.
You may inadvertently commit your company to toxic, distracting, money-losing relationships. In other words, without first taking on small initial projects, how do you know that you actually want these customers’ long-term business?
Seven IT Sales Strategies That Close Sales and Ultimately Contracts Faster
To shorten the sales cycle for your IT business and establish healthy customer or client relationships, consider the following best practices:
1. Use highly targeted marketing activities and lead generation to ensure that prospects are qualified to become long-term clients on your company’s support agreements.
2. Develop efficient and consistent lead qualification criteria, such as:
a. Number of employees
b. Number of locations
c. Number of devices (workstations, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones)
d. Number of servers
e. Main platform/OS/NOS
f. Current IT support provider
g. Previous IT support provider
h. Whether they’re used to paying for professional IT support
3. Focus on selling a small, initial, low-risk, proving-ground project that can be accomplished in one or two visits.
4. Bring an engagement letter with you for the initial proving-ground project.
5. Present testimonial letters, videos, and case studies, your third-party credibility builders, from similar local small businesses.
6. Guarantee your findings.
7. Offer to apply the cost of the proving-ground project to any follow-up work committed to within 30 days of the initial proving-ground project being completed (to accelerate the closing of the sale).
In this post, we looked at how to distinguish between closing a sale vs. selling a contract, why you need to pace yourself, and seven strategies that close sales faster.
Which IT sales strategies have you found to be most effective at (a) converting leads to customers and (b) converting new customers to contracts? Please share your tales from the field in the Comments section below.