I think the answer to the question of when should I start getting paid is another question, “When do you begin to provide value?” Let me give a very specific example.
Many professionals will provide a free needs analysis. OK, fair enough, but what if the prospective customer has not developed a complete list of needs. Should the professional give away an engagement in which they help a customer develop such a list? Isn’t that providing value? I believe it is.
So here is my new answer to this imponderable question: When you are confronted with a prospect who thinks that the needs analysis should be free (i.e., part of the sales process), I would say, “Fine, the analysis of your needs will be free, however, we charge a fee of $X to develop a needs assessment.”
While teaching Sage Consulting Academy last week, I had what my mentor would call a BFO – blinding flash of the obvious – a sale is never really lost to “No decision.”
First, “No” is a decision and therefore, by definition is a …
Second, while a prospect may not select either you or a competitor, the prospect’s money is going to be spent on something. This could either be continuing to pay another third party to manually do what your system does, or they might simply be buying a new boat for themselves instead.
In either case the message to you (and your competitors for that matter) – You have done a lousy job communicating and convincing the customer that you and your potential solution create value for their organization.
Think about it, if you were the CEO of a small company and had the choice between a new ERP system and a boat, which would you choose? This is yet another reason why your value proposition must be a strong one.
The next time you think you have lost to “No decision",” I suggest you pause and reflect rather than just caulk it up to a confused potential buyer.
My friend and colleague, Rob Johnson, will be speaking on what we at Sage have deemed Super Sunday. His topic is 5 Steps to Radical Business Growth. Here is the abstract:
Creating an environment of sustained superior growth within a business isn’t easy. In fact, it is hard. The result of that hard reality is that most businesses fail to achieve the business growth and success they desire. If you’re not reaching your full potential; either as a salesperson or a business owner—and you want to achieve greater success—plan on attending this dynamic session. To change the arc of your business’s potential, and achieve the results you desire, you need to follow a few simple plan—a 5 step plan. Attendees will receive an autographed copy of Rob’s book, a serious success plan, and the skills and tools needed to a make 2011 the most successful year ever.
Rob is a 14 year veteran of Sage. Currently, he serves as head of our channel programs and readiness. Many of you know him from the Sage Sales Academy, an award winning training program that has helped thousands of salespeople change the trajectory of their careers.