When your business sells high-value services or products, making a mistake in sales can cost a salesperson much more than losing a commission. It can cost an agreement that catapults a company into another league, in which you would sign contracts, e.g. for an order of magnitude larger than today.
Small value transactions sold to smaller companies can usually be closed in one or two meetings or video conferences. For large transactions with large companies, the sales process can take months. Purchasing decisions in large companies are the result of conversations of people participating in the decision-making process. These conversations usually take place without the presence of a salesman in the room. The meeting at which the customer says that he has decided to enter into cooperation is only an announcement of the conclusions that were previously made in the group of decision-makers who are outside the salesman’s access.
Being pushy can pay off in small transactions, where the emotions of a single customer play a big role and the purchase decision can be made when talking to you. In the case of high-value transactions, the urgency will make the customer less likely to talk to you again. This will happen particularly often when you are dealing with a purchasing department that has already seen many intrusive salespeople in action.
Knowing that your task is to make sure that the person you are talking to on the client’s side is well prepared to sell your product/service to other people who participate in the decision-making process. In the end, it will be the person presenting it in conversations with people who influence the purchasing decision.
As the volume of the transaction increases, the attention paid by the client to the salesperson grows proportionally. If you focus only on selling and don’t give the customer a chance to like you, the chances of concluding a transaction will significantly decrease. It is hardly surprising. Usually, larger transactions mean longer project implementation, support, warranty service etc. The prospect of doing all this with someone unfriendly isn’t pleasant.
You need to know that a customer in large transactions, when several meetings are required to discuss project issues, connects the salesperson with the product or service he sells. Meaning, you need to build a relationship and leave a positive impression. A good practice to strengthen the client’s desire to build relationships is to involve a manager or sales manager in business talks (but rather at later stages of the enterprise sales cycle and in justified, larger cases). Thanks to this, the client will feel more appreciated.
When selling your services or products, you probably used various closing techniques, whether those were discounts for signing the contract by the end of the month or limited product availability. There’s nothing wrong with it. Closing sales is a natural thing. Until you try to close the transaction several times during one conversation with the client. This is the fastest way to close… the door to potential cooperation.
According to what you read a few paragraphs above, sales to large companies do not happen in your presence. Therefore, if you want to close a transaction — at least make sure that the customer has all the information necessary to make a decision.
In large-scale sales, product or service features play a neutral or even negative role. The customer usually doesn’t care that the latest 3D printer can print in sixteen colours. It is generally more important that thanks to the use of the printer you offer, his printing costs will be reduced by 27%. Focus on the real business benefits that your client will get when they use your services or products. How will your product improve the situation in the client’s company? Will it reduce its costs? Will it increase revenues?
Even when you have the best solution on the market, sales will not increase until you focus on solving customer problems — this is the most important thing. Remember that selling to large companies takes much longer than to smaller ones. It is worth using this time to get to know the client, his needs and problems better and then adjust your solutions to them.
In conversations with the client, you should know how much the potential cooperation with you is a priority for him. If you’re not on the list of priorities, it is worth knowing about it early, because you can react appropriately or give up the offer and focus on other customers.
How can you know the client’s goals and priorities? Just ask him about priorities for this quarter/year. If there is a problem in the client’s organization, your performance will be very moderate — if any transactions occur at all.
It is natural for large companies to have their own shopping cycle. If you want to successfully make transactions on this market, don’t try to adjust the customer to your cycle, e.g. by offering a discount “only until the end of the month”. For large-scale sales, you need to adapt to the customer’s shopping cycle, which has specific steps. You need to know how this cycle works, understand it and then go through it with the client.
You will then be prepared for the fact that after the first conversation with Mr X from the purchasing department, he must forward the offer to his supervisor. After the approval of the supervisor, the offer must go through the acceptance of the legal department, then the CFO, the accountant and… you can finally sign it. Knowing that there is a CFO in step 4, you can ask to meet this person in advance. You’ll minimize the risk that the contact person will be on vacation and the topic of cooperation won’t start until he returns.
Consider whether one or more of the errors mentioned above occur in your enterprise sales process. Try to eliminate them step by step. Good luck!
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