Posts Tagged 7 step sales process

The Final Step in the 7 Step Sales Process for IT Solutions and Managed Services: Follow-Up

Follow-up is the final step of the Seven Step Sales Process.  Whether they are selling IT solutions or Managed Services, proper follow-up is a simple activity that many sales professionals overlook, and as a result fail to realize the benefits of this important step. While the concept of following up on sales opportunities  should be a standard and automatic function for the Sales Professional, from the perspective of the 7 Step Sales Process, the follow-up occurs after the Prospect has signed an agreement or purchased a solution. While this is the easiest step of the sales process, many Sales Professionals miss cross-selling opportunities with existing clients due to a lack of proper follow-up.

The first and most important step to a powerful follow-up is to track and keep all client information updated and current in the organization’s CRM (Client Relationship Management) or PSA (Professional Services Automation) solution. Using these tools to manage sales opportunities allows the sales professional to schedule and execute on specific time-sensitive tasks governed by their specific sales processes. 

Some specific dates all Sales Professionals should keep in mind and take action to recognize for the client are:

  1. The anniversary date of the client’s Go-Live
  2. Birthdays
  3. Holidays
  4. Other event dates specifically significant to the client such as business anniversaries, births, weddings and newsworthy business events

Activities the Sales Professional can take to recognize these types of events for their clients include sending out a handwritten congratulatory card, an email, flowers, balloons, cookies or undertaking any other occasion-appropriate actions to remind their clients of the close relationship between their respective organizations as evidenced by their celebration and congratulations of their clients’ successes.

But celebratory and congratulatory activities are not the only activities included in proper and correct follow-up. A good example of this type of strategic follow-up includes the sales professional’s regular business reviews with their clients. Depending upon the length of the relationship, these may occur on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis.

The intent of a standardized, consistent follow-up procedure is to continue to earn and hold client mindshare longer while maintaining a strong brand promise.

Some examples of tools available to help automate the follow-up process include solutions such as Kutenda, Constant Contact and ExpressCopy. The use of automated tools and services such as these allow the calendaring, alerting and scheduling of follow-up activities in advance allows the Sales Professional to focus on the more labor and time-consuming aspects of executing the sales process and ensures that consistent mindshare is garnered.  In fact, it is a good idea for the sales professional to gather the dates of these significant events during the client on-boarding process and configure their tools to alert on and/or execute specific follow-up activities as appropriate, ensuring consistency in basic follow-up execution. The Sales Professional should keep in mind that executing a consistent follow-up process correctly with their clients can lead to opportunities to receive targeted referrals from these satisfied clients.

Genuine appreciation for clients and their business is the foundation for the entire relationship moving forward. The demonstration of the Sales Professional’s appreciation for their clients is typically reciprocated via consistent referrals. If the Sales Professional is doing a good job of consistently reaching out to their clients on a regular basis, the foundation that was built on professionalism and consultative business advice during the sales process will be solidified. This greatly reduces the client’s desire and/or need to seek out a different relationship. Sales Professionals should work hard at not letting the easiest and most overlooked part of the sales process get in the way of diminishing the hard work and credibility that they have developed during the execution of the Seven Step Sales Process. 

The previous posts in this series can be found here:

The Seven Step Sales Process for IT Solutions and Managed Services

Step 1 of the 7 Step Sales Process: Strategic Preparation

Step 2 of the 7 Step Sales Process: The Warm-Up

Step 3 of the 7 Step Sales Process: Qualifying

Step 4 of the 7 Step Sales Process: The Sales Presentation

Step 5 of the 7 Step Sales Process: Overcoming Objections

Step 6 of the 7 Step Sales Process: Closing

Learn more about the 7 Step Sales Process for IT Solutions and Managed Services at our Newark, NJ Boot Camp November 10th-12th!

Rafael Sanguily
MSP University

Check out our FREE live training schedule here
Visit our Mobile Site here
Subscribe to our blog here
Subscribe to our Newsletter here
Join MSP University for all things Managed Services


 

Posted in: Sales, Sales & Marketing

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The 6th Step in the 7 Step Sales Process for IT Solutions and Managed Services: Closing

Closing is the sixth step of the Seven Step Sales Process for IT Solutions and Managed Services. This step usually occurs after Step 5 – Overcoming Objections, and can be easily defined as the Sales Professional asking for a commitment from the prospect. Sales Professionals sometimes make the mistake of re-explaining the features and benefits of their solution after the prospect is ready to be closed and potentially talking them out of the sale.  Most successful Sales Professionals utilize a variety of closing techniques depending on the situation at hand that simply removes the tension from the close and asks for the business.

Many Sales Professionals make the mistake of placing too much importance on the actual close of the sales itself. Closing should be a natural and logical progression after properly qualifying the Prospect and covering the different alternatives (review Step 3:  Qualifying) the Prospect has in their buying decision.  The Sales Professional should also continue to confidently progress through the close and simply ask for permission to move forward. Another common mistake by new Sales Professionals is to hesitate throughout the sale and cause unnecessary objections.  This hesitation typically creates doubt in the mind of the client, which in turn raises their perceived risk of commitment. The Sales Professional should move confidently throughout the sale and use one of the following Closing Techniques immediately after executing the process for Overcoming Objections (See Step 5:  Overcoming Objections):

  • The Alternate Advance Close – “Mrs. Prospect, would you like to get started immediately or the following Tuesday?” -  Provides the prospect two options that both work for the Sales Professional.
  • The Uncomfortable Silence Close – “Mr. Prospect, does it make sense to move forward and get started?” (remain silent and wait for a response) – This close is one of the oldest and most effective closing techniques utilized in the Sales Process. It should be used on every prospect, as it allows an opportunity for the prospect to come up with potential objections. The Sales Professional should remember one important rule; “the first one to speak….loses”.
  • The Sharp Angle Close – “Mr. Prospect, if I can get you the exact address and location of where your remote data will be replicated to once it is backed up, are we okay to move forward?” – This should be used on any prospect that is caught up on insignificant details that has them lose sight of the big picture.
  • The “I Want To Think About It” Close – “What is it about the service that you want to think about? Is it the Remote Monitoring? Okay, would it happen to be the Vendor Management aspect of our service? Is it the Online Back‐Up Solution? Be candid with me, is it the investment amount associated with getting this service started?” – This close uses the process of elimination to see which aspect of the service the prospect is objecting to. Most of the time the prospects are objecting to the investment amount and this will allow the Sales Professional to reinforce the benefits of the solution and address the misunderstanding in the numbers associated with the ROI/Cost Savings Analysis.
  • The Cheaper Somewhere Else Close – “Mr. Prospect, I understand how you feel about the investment. In fact, you’re right; you can get these services for less somewhere else. You know, in my experience I’ve found that companies typically get involved with services based on three merits – lowest price, best service, and highest quality. Unfortunately, in most cases there aren’t many companies that are able to deliver all three of those merits at the same time, wouldn’t you agree? (wait for response) Most people are usually only able to take advantage of services with two out of those three merits and have to compromise on one. Just out of curiosity, which of the three would you be most willing to compromise – the best service, the highest quality, or price…?” – This Close is designed to reset proper expectations in the mind of the prospect. Typically when they object to price, their real question is related to how the proposed solution compares to available alternatives. Sometimes not going with the Sales Professional’s recommendations could be more expensive than going with a “cheaper” alternative.
  • The Reduction to the Ridiculous Close – “So Mrs. Prospect, wouldn’t you agree that the 24×7 network monitoring, unlimited help desk, managing all of your vendors, backing up your critical data and saving you $30,000 every year is worth the meager $14.40 per hour? From our discussions with your HR director it seems you pay your Receptionist more, correct?” – This close is designed to take a large number and reduce to a more palatable amount for the prospect. This technique is extremely successful in selling services by squarely comparing a relatively large amount of valuable services and team of experts to deliver them against the cost of one full time employee.

The closing techniques illustrated above are just a sample of what is possible. There are a vast number of closing techniques and styles. The Sales Professional should practice a variety of different closes in different scenarios. This will make them feel confident and assured that they are ready to close an opportunity. The closes presented above are meant to be a simple reference point and should not be used verbatim in most cases. The Sales Professional should practice using their own vernacular and make the closes truly their own.

The Sales Professional should always keep in mind that closing is not manipulation. The prospect must have an actual need for the proposed recommendations and it is the duty of the Sales Professional to articulate that need to their potential client. A closing technique should not be attempted if the prospect does not have a clear understanding of the specific benefits being produced by the offering. If there is a true benefit to working with the Sales Professional’s recommendations, utilizing rehearsed and logical closing techniques can spark the motivation necessary to increase the velocity of the sale. The most important thing to remember is that prospects make buying decisions based on emotion and use logic to justify their buying decisions.

The previous posts in this series can be found here:

The Seven Step Sales Process for IT Solutions and Managed Services

Step 1 of the 7 Step Sales Process: Strategic Preparation

Step 2 of the 7 Step Sales Process: The Warm-Up

Step 3 of the 7 Step Sales Process: Qualifying

Step 4 of the 7 Step Sales Process: The Sales Presentation

Step 5 of the 7 Step Sales Process: Overcoming Objections

Learn more about the 7 Step Sales Process for IT Solutions and Managed Services at our Newark, NJ Boot Camp November 10th-12th!

Rafael Sanguily
MSP University

Check out our FREE live training schedule here
Visit our Mobile Site here
Subscribe to our blog here
Subscribe to our Newsletter here
Join MSP University for all things Managed Services

Posted in: Sales

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