You’ve heard it all before: Sales experts talk and talk about creating value. If we just create enough value for our clients, they will buy-whatever the price and whatever the economy. What’s new about that?
Yes, the economy is lagging and budgets are cut. Yes, we have competition. Yes, clients are postponing decisions. So now what?
Offer New Ideas to Woo New Clients
Sales experts have always talked value. Now we need to put ourselves in our clients’ shoes and become creative. We must get in and get started. Think smart, not big. It’s always smarter to have a smaller piece of something than a big piece of nothing. Begin with a smaller project, a reduced order, or a regional-rather than global-implementation. Get in, and get to know the client. Let them get to know you. Get to know their business.
Create Metrics to Breed Referrals
Sit on the same side of the table as your client. Work together to determine the best way to get started. Always, always, always create metrics with your client. How do you, together, define success? Get agreement that once the current project is successful-according to the metrics you’ve agreed upon-the client will work with you to identify other opportunities within his or her organization. A successful project breeds a successful relationship … and successful referrals.
Negotiation as a Sales Strategy
Price. Aha! This is the big hurdle. Yes, the client will want to negotiate on price. That’s her job-to build business while watching the bottom line. How many times have you submitted a proposed price to a client and had her say right off the bat, “Great! Where do I sign.”? It doesn’t happen. We always want to get the best deal, so why wouldn’t our clients?
If you must adjust your price, adjust the scale of your project or the deliverables as well. Always get something in return for a reduced rate and write it into your agreement. Maybe the client agrees to write a testimonial or promises a referral to another business unit in his organization or to someone they know at a different company. Maybe you barter some of your services. Bartering is an age-old way of doing business, and it makes sense in many cases if you want what your client has and he needs what you have. Perhaps the client has software that your company needs, or a consulting methodology that could propel your business. You get the picture. Work it out.
If you can’t work things out, be willing to walk away. It’s a tough decision, but it may be your best decision. You’ll be off to the next client who values what you offer and is willing to pay for it. And offer those valuable referrals!
What are you waiting for? Get in and get started!