It’s absolutely essential that your first successful sales into enterprise class business prospects are completely successful for your customers. Whether you’re placing a piece of computer hardware into Clorox, or you’ve just closed a complex sale of hardware, software and advisory, your level of satisfaction with the sale is rather irrelevant. Rather, as I have just noted, it’s the level of customer satisfaction with the purchase that truly matters. You will need to use that satisfied customer, either as a reference or much like a patron to make your next sale into your valuable and long sought prospective customer. It all boils down to this simple hint along the enterprise sales trail: “Your best customer is a customer”; in other words, there is no one easier to sell than someone to whom you have already sold something. Never lose sight of the truth of this time worn adage and you will have come along way along the path to successful enterprise selling.
With regard to the level of your satisfaction with the sale, make sure that you negotiate the right terms and pricing up front. If you handle the negotiation correctly, then your satisfaction is “baked into the cake.” But take every step that you can to ensure that the customer is completely satisfied or risk losing a very valuable prospect who is capable of subsidizing your business for several years to come, or, perhaps for your entire career.
An important preliminary to making initial sales into a top prospect is choosing the right opportunity. There are times when obscure and rather unimportant contacts at top prospects will constitute the right opportunity to pursue. For example, if you are operating under the radar and are tentative about your market position, then proceeding with a sale into a top enterprise class business prospect (albeit through contacts on the periphery of the business) makes sense. This type of opportunity will provide you with an excellent basis to test important characteristics of your brand within a typical target customer environment as, worst case, you will fail with a contact who lacks the authority and/or visibility to destroy your follow on potential.
Only choose a patron level contact when your brand is secure, your product positioning has been completed and your at least 70% certain of a successful implementation on the part of the prospect. More about what a patron level contact is all about later.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved