The same principles of complex sales can be applied to selling technology commodities like PCs, servers, printers, routers, etc. to enterprise customers with high value results. When prospects are permitted an opportunity from an initial conversation (and thereafter) to endorse a notion that value can be derived from the implementation of products, services or an integrated solution, they take a position in the outcome that is lacking in a typical sales dialogue where a sales person jumps into presenting a product with an objective to simply “get to yes.” The inquiry may not produce a sale, but for the duration of the dialogue a customer will be much more engaged, not to mention forthcoming than would be the case with a less open exchange of information. Therefore, it makes complete sense for teams selling IT commodities to adopt the same approach, wherever possible.
Learning about why customers are looking to buy commodities like desktop computers can produce very useful information. For example, perhaps a customer is in the market for desktop computers not simply as an upgrade to existing equipment. Rather, a plan is in place to automate a cumbersome manual procedure. The computers are required to support data processing for the procedure. Therefore, in the context of collecting this information from the customer, a sales person (by virtue of having strictly adopting the stance of a listener/facilitator in any/all early stage discussions with the customer) has opened an opportunity to, perhaps, contribute unique value to the customer’s effort that would not have otherwise been the case through a typical commodity discussion about price and availability.
We think it always makes sense to attempt to engage with customers with open questions (who/what/where/why/how). In fact, we advocate passing on, right away, should customers be unwilling to discuss requirements in this manner. Why waste time with customers who are simply shopping a solution? The results of early stage discussions conducted in a controlled manner to gain as much information about the customer’s unique situation will be quite useful to determine whether or not it makes sense to devote substantial effort to a specific opportunity. There is absolutely no reason that we are aware of that would preclude sales personnel from proceeding along the same information gathering effort for commodity sales. If you subscribe to our thinking and need your sales teams better equipped to collect the information required to make for promising sales, please contact us.
You may telephone Ira Michael “Mike” Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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