If you’re selling big-ticket information technology such as computers, servers, storage, and networking, you’ll be selling to IT executives. Yet, many sales people take the wrong approach and damage their ability to make the sale.
Read on to learn what I discovered from an IT executive running the physical infrastructure of a Fortune 50 pharmaceutical company with more than 90,000 employees world-wide. Learn about about the three things that turn off IT executives and what to do differently.
Sales People Who Don’t Know Their Product
Incredibly, technology companies hire sales people to sell IT who don’t know the technology or the product.
As an IT professional, your prospect knows a lot about the products offered and they expect for the sales professional to be able to discuss–not just articulate–the value propositions and underlying technology.
If you can’t stand up to basic questions, you’ll have no credibility. IT executives will say, “That doesn’t sound like something we need. Good bye.”
What to do differently: Learn enough about your products so that you can have a reasonable discussion about what they do and how they work. This means you’ll need to study the underlying technology to be familiar with it. One way to do this is search for key buzzwords at Wikipedia.
Yet you don’t have to know everything. IT executives respect the person who admits they don’t know it all but are willing to understand the issues and offer to help. That goes a long way to creating a relationship and ultimately a sale.
Every time you hear a new term, ask about it or immediately search to learn about it. Before long, you’ll be an expert.
Deliver a Sales Pitch Before Knowing What’s Needed
Today, there are lots of IT telemarketers calling to sell something. They’ll get the IT executive’s name from a data base like Jigsaw or Hoovers. But they don’t know anything about the executive’s priorities. Yet they still jump right into the product pitch without even opening a relationship or understanding needs.
IT executives will shut that down fast with, “That’s not part of my business. Good bye.”
What to do differently: IT executives know that selling technology is a tough business and are sympathetic to professional sales behavior.
Take a moment to explain why you’re calling and even if they aren’t the right person they’ll point you in the right direct.
If you’re cold calling, it’s better to admit it than to fake a relationship or launch into a canned pitch. Just let them know why you’re calling and ask for their help.
For example: “I’m [your name] with [your company]. We haven’t talked before but I’m calling because I want to find out if we can help your company with [your key value proposition]. Who would find that most useful?”
One Size Fits All
IT executives get annoyed with an IT specialist telemarketer who thinks that one solution fits every situation. Executives view their problems as unique and they want to be treated uniquely.
For these generic pitches, the IT executive will say, “That won’t work for us. Good bye.”
What to do differently: Tell them what you can do and ask a question to explore if you can help.
For example, “Our customers choose us to help them keep track of security risks in their industry so that they can focus on their customers instead of on the bad guys. How do you manage your computer security risk management now?”
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