Technology Sales – Reduce the RISK
You can have a product or service that could easily be implemented at a customer location saving them tons of money and having a fantastic return on investment, but the customer will not buy it.
With technology sales you need to overcome several objections. Risk, ease of install, and a solution based outcome. Overcome these objections with honesty and references. Everyone talks about “finding the pain”. I’ve seen companies who have endured pain for years and will not change what they are doing because of the risk of change. Just finding the pain is not the answer.
Yes, find the pain, but then keep asking questions as to why they haven’t made the change yet. As you dig you will uncover the risk based objections as to why they haven’t made the change. I’ve had IT Managers tell me that their current malfunctioning system is costing them money, but if they make a change and it’s wrong then it’s their job on the line – that’s Risk. Or they are afraid of a prolonged or messy install that disrupts the company. Reduce that risk, have great references available to share and support your claims that the change will be easy and with minimal risk. With technology there is always some risk or downside. Clearly state the issues (DO NOT HIDE POTENTIAL PROBLEMS). Even have a reference where things went sideways and how you stepped in got thing back on track and it all worked out.
Here’s one of the secrets of technology sales – tell the customer all the down side issues upfront. Then tell them how you will help them through the install and setup IF things go wrong. Reduce the Risk. Too many technology salespeople think (or have been trained to think) that they only way around the RISK barrier is to tell the customer that nothing will go wrong and that all their installs and setups are perfect – “trust me”. Then when something does go wrong the salesperson hides and the customer is irate. If you tell the customer the potential problems and how they will be addressed – along with that reference where this did happen the problem is solved. This reduces the risk for all involved. Letting the customer know that if something goes wrong you have their back – all processes are outline and in place.
Once you get the RISK fears out of the way with honesty then the rest will fall into place.
Ease of install and setup will go great since you have outlined all the plus/minus conditions with a written process and timeline on how the implementation will proceed. This will reduce RISK.
The most important reason for the technology upgrade is the one that often gets overlooked – the positive outcome. There needs to be a reason to make the change – back to the PAIN. As stated earlier, customers can and often do live with the pain of outdated technology. Once you have overcome the RISK you can now explain how your technology can improve their situation. Cost savings, efficiencies, and competitive advantage all are welcome if they come with reduced risk. Ask questions, LISTEN, know what outcomes are needed by your customer. Read their quarterly reports, know what projects and outcomes they are forecasting to their shareholders – help them achieve their goals. Technology sales is not about being slick – slick answers, slick brochures, and slick closing techniques. Technology sales is about being honest and know what what the customer really needs.
All of this is predicated on great references that will attest to your ability to do what you say. This is called honesty. Be honest with your customers, tell them the plus and the minus of implementing your technology. I have always found that to stand apart from your competitors be honest.