Most people make purchasing decisions based on emotion and use logic to justify that decision. Therefore, a strong and favorable first impression is vitally important to develop a foundation for successful sales engagements. In order for the Sales Professional to begin the process of positioning themselves as a Trusted Advisor and securing a productive communication forum where the Prospect feels comfortable enough to provide valuable information, the Sales Professional should begin by reducing risk during the sales engagement and creating a positive perception of their competence with the Prospect. This occurs during the Warm-Up, which is the second step in the 7 Step Sales Process and should be conducted within the first few minutes of any client interaction.
The following are a series of actions that a Sales Professional should conduct to ensure a successful Warm – Up:
- Use information gathered in the Strategic Preparation phase (Step 1) of the sales engagement. The Sales Professional will be able to find common ground on topics that matter to the Prospect Vertical in question by researching industry-specific business websites and current events. This tactic will create a repository of Status/Diagnostic Questions (to be covered in an upcoming post).
- Research the name of the Prospect, their organization and its stakeholders via the web for any relevant news or topics of discussion. The Sales Professional could find valuable information that may be used as talking points, such as industry affiliations or current or newsworthy events.
- During the sales engagement, the Sales Professional should observe and take note of any pictures or other such memorabilia in the Prospect’s office that may be used as talking points. This tactic will allow the Prospect to divulge any information pertaining to topics that they may be interested in outside of the workplace.
- The Sales Professional should also take note of their Prospect’s body language, tone and demeanor during the sales engagement. This will provide behavioral clues and allow the Sales Professional to determine as to where the Prospect may fit into the DISC behavioral profile. Once the Sales Professional has a good grasp of where the Prospect may be positioned from a DISC perspective, they will be able to begin communication in a more effective manner. (Note that DISC consultation should only be conducted by a DISC Certified Behavioral Specialist).
The Managed Services Sales Professional should take note that not all people communicate or Warm-Up the same way. It will be up to the Sales Professional to identify and conduct the Warm-Up that the Prospect wants. While some Prospects may be willing to share personal information with the Sales Professional, some will prefer to have a discussion around their business.
Below are some examples of Personal and Business Warm-Up questions:
Personal Warm-Up Questions:
- “What are your interests outside of work?”
- “How much time do you usually have to do those types of things?”
- “When was the last time you were able to take a vacation, and what did you do?”
- “Are you involved in any charitable activities?”
Business Warm-Up Questions:
- “What would your ideal Client look like?”
- “How did you start this business?”
- “What led you to get into this type of business? “
- “What is your favorite part about what you do?”
- “Did you start in this position or did you move from another?”
Understanding how to immediately build rapport with a potential Client is critical to an IT Managed Services or Solution Provider Sales Professional’s success. Considering the newness of how most Managed Services and IT Solutions may seem to a Prospect, they will generally make their buying decisions based on the relationship-building skills of the Sales Professional. The Sales Professional’s main goal during the Warm-Up phase is to reduce perceived risk and this is accomplished by positioning themselves as an Expert in the Vertical they are selling to. The Sales Professional must begin to convey and position themselves as a Business Consultant in the Vertical they are working, with a focus towards how to use technology strategically to achieve their Prospects’ and Clients’ business objectives.
For more training on improving sales techniques and velocity, and all aspects of running your successful IT Managed Services and Solution Provider business, please visit our Managed Services Training page here. Stay tuned for more great education from MSP University’s Education and Training department.
Next time: Step 3 of the 7-Step Sales Process: Qualifying
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