We all know that it’s smarter and easier to offer more solutions to your current customers than to seek out new clients who don’t yet know you and what you stand for.
It costs 5x as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one
With this in mind, I’m introducing a few ideas that you may be interested in adding to your mix….
Introducing Vgreet from Ascentae – a new distributor focussed on disruptive technology
Video conferencing combined with content management
Vgreet is one of Vpod’s state of the art technology products offering a more human way of communicating with customers, clients and colleagues. The solution uses video conferencing technology combined with Vpod’s unique content management software and enables deployment of video/audio while simultaneously displaying content, similar to a super-sized smartphone. Every business can now have an incredibly flexible communications solution with intuitive touch-screen technology that is immediately familiar to anyone who owns a smart device
Video communication kiosk
Imagine a giant smartphone placed in a prominent position customised to display your own branded interactive content. Imagine the unlimited face to face interactive opportunities that could bring to your business. That’s what you get with Vgreet. A free-standing or recessed video communications kiosk that enables deployment of video and audio while simultaneously displaying content.
I have a perspective that says we are all selling at some time or other despite the fact that our role title may not have the word “sales” in it.
I have worked with a wide range of different people with differing skills and life perspectives and occasionally there was a tacit understanding that whilst the “sales team” carried a responsibility for the “number”, everyone had a responsibility as a representative of the company to present a positive external image to the World at large and in so doing increased the potential for businesses to want to work with us.
This has not always been the case, and at the other extreme, I have experienced the silos of “you are sales” we are….. etc. Whilst I am not saying that this is right or wrong, what I am intending to highlight is the fact that I believe, we all have a responsibility as a member of the business team to take the job of representing the business as positively as we can as “ambassadors” if you will. In so doing, it is my belief that this will create a wave of good-will that can only be positive. Remember of course that the reach of social media can play a big role in this and everyone in the business knows people – very often people of influence and potential customers for your business’s services or products.
Make sure you are a person of value to yourself and your business and ultimately you are contributing to the success of the organisation – PLEASE don’t just leave it to the sales team
In truth, it’s both. The process of a non- customer becoming a customer through their buying process, has a bucket full of potential twists and turns to arrive as a new customer to your enterprise.
The science of selling is in the planning and understanding of how to get from where you are, to where you want to be. How you reach your target audience and what will attract them to your online presence (the NEW Shop window). The art component is to do with your engagement with the potential customer.
However you consider customer acquisition, you need to attract or find new ones and take care of and nurture the ones you already have. Rest assured that someone will be trying to lure your customers away from you, just as you are attempting to encourage new customers into your care.
The one universal truth is that this does all take some time, so do not expect to have orders rolling in because you have launched your web site or because you have received 3 inquires this week. Building your business is a long game, so stay ambitious but realistic and keep trusting the process, and above all be persistent and professional.
In my experience, in business, people do business with people that they know, like and trust. This is invariably a position that is arrived at because they have met, and invested time together to reach this understanding. Increasingly we rely on our friends and close contacts and connections to advocate us to others, and others to us, in order for dialogue to begin. I really do not believe that traditional “cold calling” works in the way that it used to, and certainly not consistently.
It can work, however and does have its place I believe, but advocacy and social networking are rapidly becoming the new normal as far as door openers to new business opportunities are concerned. IMHO, this is probably a more globally acceptable way to prospect too.
I was musing language (as I often do) again today and thinking about the initial engagement in any situation, but probably I was thinking mostly about the very first engagement in a sales situation. This could be a conversation, either by phone or face to face, or more often these days, an email or other form of non-real time communication. Whatever the channel, I was considering the impact of language and in particular the meaning that the recipient makes of the words and structure of those critical first few phrases. I am a firm believer that the conversation needs to be about “the client” and not about me and more importantly what the purpose of the contact is! This thought process led me to consider the positioning of the potential relationship and the consideration from the recipient’s perspective as to whether this was at all important at this early stage, or actually at all.
Inevitably when language becomes mainstream, or commonplace, it loses some of its caché and “advantage” (if it ever had any), and can become almost counter-productive as we see it as “hackneyed” or over-used, and this could be the case if positioning yourself as a partner – rather than just another supplier.
I like to seek out relationships whereby my value can be of real benefit to a client and that is all about “valuing the difference”. In this case the difference is the particular skills and knowledge I have acquired over many years in the telecoms and Unified Communications space, and that which can be of use to the client. I might frame this as me being a “partner” rather than a supplier, i.e. my value is not about a race to provide the lowest cost items, but about taking the stress out of understanding the options and possibilities as well as the unique aims and business values the client holds dear. Marrying these pieces together and considering the real business value of the solutions available merits additional value, which is often unappreciated. My view – for what it’s worth is that if you are investing in a technology that is dynamically changing and evolving, and competitive with multiple strong vendors in the race, then looking way beyond the investment is critical and a trusted advisor relationship is definitely desirable – But what do I know
I was musing over some of the really cool technology available today, like the new Flare Experience from Avaya, launched this month, and in particular how sales in this area has or as not changed in the past 5 years or so. In particular, I was considering the sales approach and whether or not there is a greater degree of sales resistance and perhaps it is getting more difficult to open doors, or if general improvement in available information via the internet and social platforms that the opposite is true. My sense is that the right approach is varied according to audience, but absolutely can be successful – and that’s a conversational, business language oriented conversation, not a strong closing aggressive language. Ari Galper discusses this in his unlock the game while others claim that cold calling is dead. Personally I think that good clear professional communications has always and will always work.
What do you think?
What’s in it for me? And What are you going to do to help me? These are just two of the key questions any potential channel partner will be asking, presupposing that you can get an invitation to meet in the first place. How quickly can the new partner generate profitable revenues, and who will assist them to price, win and implement their initial sales? Next steps are to really build a significant revenue stream together and manage the support issues and obvious cash management challenges, notwithstanding the “hygiene” factors of ongoing training and relationship- building ongoing trust and goodwill. It is a worthwhile journey if you are committed to this path. One word of caution- don’t do this if investing is something you are trying to avoid – you can’t build success by “allowing” partners just to have access to your offering. You may make a few opportunistic sales, but you won’t build a business.