Image by KaiChanVong.
A sales conversation can often feel like a battle, where you are protecting your organization’s interests, and the salesperson is trying to launch all kinds tactics to make you buy something from them.
However, a relationship with a potential vendor should not feel like this. There are things you should look for – from the very first phone call – that will help you choose the right provider and make an informed purchasing decision.
All too often, you say one thing to a technology salesperson, but you really mean something else. Here are five examples, along with tips that will help you choose the right vendor for your business:
What you say: We’re happy with our current provider.
What you really mean: Who is this? You haven’t demonstrated enough value or credibility to ask about our network and the technologies that we run in our office.
What you really need: As an IT manager, you might receive a dozen sales calls a day. Your first reaction to a sales call is probably to go into auto-pilot and say you’re happy with your provider whether they’re actually working out for you or not. After all, the caller doesn’t have an established relationship with you and hasn’t shown you any value. If the salesperson really cares about developing a relationship with you, they will work to earn your trust and demonstrate value.
What you say: We’re under contract.
What you really mean: You’re offering something I already have, so what’s the point of talking about it?
What you really need: In the technology industry, everyone and everything is under contract, so it’ll be no surprise to the salesperson calling that you have some contracted services. However, instead of launching into a pitch, the vendor should offer you something of value that will help you get to where you want to be in the next six-to-eighteen months and beyond. If the vendor doesn’t want to provide you with value upfront, they’re probably not committed to being a trusted partner for the long haul.
What you say: We outsource our IT.
What you really mean: We’re paying a third-party to make IT decisions for us because we don’t have the expertise in-house.
What you really need: Many businesses find themselves in this situation. The cost to employ an in-house team is often perceived as being greater than the benefit it may offer. Years of commoditized sales approaches have left business managers high and dry when it comes to understanding how technology can service – and often drive – the needs of the business. Pick the rep in the sea of salespeople who is committed to understanding your business needs. If you prefer to outsource this segment of your business, it’s even more important that your third-party is working with the right vendors.
What you say: Switching providers is too difficult.
What you really mean: The last time we switched providers, it was a nightmare. We experienced downtime and lost revenue.
What you really need: As you are aware, the technology industry is not known for its customer service. The last thing you need is someone who sells you a product but doesn’t follow through to make sure the implementation runs smoothly. That’s why you must look for a provider who offers a complete implementation plan and does everything possible to learn about your needs when it comes to performance, cost and productivity.
What you say: My brother-in-law manages our IT.
What you really mean: Give up now.
What you really need: Friends and family are in your inner circle of trusted resources, and it’s going to be next to impossible for any vendor to take their place. However, your brother-in-law may not have the resources or in-depth knowledge to help you make effective decisions for your business. Your IT vendors should not only have the knowledge, but also be your trusted advisors. If your best friend, Gary, actually knows his stuff, there should be no issue for him to work with the right vendors. The right company will offer you guidance and support where you need it most.
How should a potential IT partner demonstrate their value to you? Feel free to share your comments below.