Dps [This is acronym for Document Production Specialists selling the biggest, baddest server driven electronic printing/production systems that Xerox sold],
As you all know I have just conducted the last deal plan session with the key accounts sales teams. I have stated to management that from now on there will be no proposals submitted to customers without a deal plan. If you read in the deal plan manual, a proposal goes in after you have discussed the key points with the customer and he or they have agreed to the data, recommendations and the proposed implementation timescales towards an installation of our systems. Otherwise the proposal is simply just a free piece of consultancy. I hope that you guys have seen how I have done in even for commercial cases such as a publisher.etc. Sit down and draw out the timeline together with the customer of the key events that has to happen right up to implementation and post sales and get the customer to agree.
In the case I have mentioned, by agreeing to what I put down in the timeline with him let us gauge his commitment to us. Subsequently the proposal must incorporate the timeline that he has agreed on with us. Therefore, the proposal becomes a distillation of our discussions with the customer and a summary of our and his commitments and thus the sale moves to the next step.
Also, in order to build the buying criteria, we need to ensure that we engage customers early on and build his criteria together with him. You can only do this if he trusts you. Note that in practically all of the cases the customer was willing to give info such as profit margin and annual turnover using various probing techniques such as "shooting low and shooting high".. In each case this info is crucial to identify if DT is viable for him.
As DPSs you must develop the interpersonal skills that make this happen.
The more you are able to do so, the more successful you will be in any business.
You can only do this if you establish credibility with the customer. I do it by first demonstrating my knowledge in an area they may be less familiar about but know is important to them (in my case the Web - Pendekar.Com is a sophisticated form of vanity publication that is more than just a simple publication of ideas, it is an on-line community of martial artists and a means of knowledge capture). I offer information to earn the right to get information, in short using principles learnt in Account Development Strategy, I "orientate" the customer to earn my right to continue the discussion with him.
Here I can be of help to you guys for the "break in" into the account but I consider it an essential skill for a DPS to do it on your own. You must know how to deliver your own personal Initial Benefit Statements [Does anyone use this today? I get a lot of calls from Insurance sales people etc to try and make appointment with me but offer no IBS as we call it. They won't get an appointment with me unless they tell me a good reason for me to see them. Even I get rusty when I don't practice this :-)] that will earn you the right to go on to the next step with the next customer. Each person must develop an approach that is suitable for him, don't try and imitate me as I am different and can get away with certain things due to my personality and you may get away with other things due to your personality. You must however develop your own approaches [Very important!].
On proposals, I would from now on like to see a proposed implementation plan in the proposal as well and will not sign off any proposals (except for concept proposals which are designed to create interest and has no specific pricing) without at as this indicates that you have not done adequate groundwork... [I actually provide a service for clients where we sit and review the coming years business and provide a reality check for the sales team, after signing an NDA of course. We must ensure that there are no Ostriches around in the sales team... ;-)]
Copyright Abu Mansur