Many years ago I met a prospect. It was a printing & publishing company. The lead time in each stage of the Sales Process was very high. I understood that the prospect definitely had a requirement, had budgets & was the decision maker. Yet the sale didn’t happen. It was a private enterprise but for all practical purposes, it looked like a Government Agency. The bureaucracy was palpable.
My manager accompanied me to a meeting and he wrote off the prospect immediately after the meeting. He said that that prospect will never buy. But I didn’t give up. While I spent a considerable amount of time with other prospects, I did not fail to spend little time with this prospect as well since I had a strong gut feeling that this should close sooner or later. I was prepared to do anything to win the deal.
I took a fresh look at it. And went through the Sales Process and aligned it with the customer’s journey in the buying cycle. It took time, energy and tested my patience. Then there was competition. And I came to know that they were quoting a lower price. I did not discount my price to match or better the offer from the competition. Instead, I worked out a different strategy. I had by then created a branding strategy and executed that. I understood that the prospect liked our product and our company.
While the competition was looking at the deal from a transactional standpoint, I looked at it from a relationship perspective. I communicated to the client that we will be embarking on a relationship with them and we will be with them for the rest of the life. I told him that we are not interested in just getting this order but interested in ensuring that our relationship stays for a long time to come. And that we were committed to his organization’s success in that project. And I committed to him that we will deploy whatever resources that are required to meet that objective.
I squarely threw the competition out of the window. And suddenly pricing was not an issue. There were bigger things at stake for the customer. He should look good to their top management. Most importantly, the solution should work and meet the demands.
From the prospect’s perspective, there was a company that was committed, willing to work shoulder to shoulder, ready for the long and arduous journey, committing the required resources for the project and interested in a relationship. His view of the salesperson [that’s me] might have been this: Truly Professional, Trustworthy, Having unwavering resolve, Hardworking, Meticulous, Friendly and Positive.
Should I still state the obvious?
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