There appears to be momentum to simplify and streamline the CI selling process. Tools such as SalesToolz, SlatePlan, Mobile Quote by D-Tools and others help structure the sales conversation and produce an “instant” scope and budget estimate, if not a full-blown proposal.
With the advent of the tablet these tools become presentation vehicles for your company and its capabilities, while capturing the desires of the sometimes un-enlightened client.
But in our group of over 60 salespeople, we see a divergence of selling techniques, methods and habits. For most CI professionals, the sales process is more about the individual’s personality than methodology.
Finding, recruiting, assimilating and retaining the best of the best is difficult for sure. Getting the sales process down to a replicable process greatly increases our chances for growing sales bandwidth.
Here is what we think is needed:
- Implement a tool for having the same conversation with clients every time.
- The tool need not be customer facing, but it should definitely be a mechanism for recording details about their desires.
- The blueprint or space walk-thru should be choreographed, moving room-to-room while inviting conversation about desires and possibilities.
- The outcome of the first engagement should be to achieve an agreed-upon project scope and budget, before proceeding with design.
- Classifying the opportunity as Quick, Scheduled, Managed or Engineered can help in communicating to the client and aid in taking the right commitment and action path. These four classifications can be tied to hours projected on the project.
- A good sizing/scoping tool should get you close enough, so that the final proposed design is not more than 10 percent off budget.
- Getting a sign-off on scope and budget should increase the outcome success. This sequence can also allow for very different client confirmations:
- Payment in full on Quick projects
- Down payment on Scheduled projects
- Down payment different terms on longer Managed projects
- A Design Fee on Engineered projects
- The value of qualifying the client at this early stage often saves revisions and wasted time for the salesperson.
- Collecting the information as an “Intake” form, if properly done, can greatly aid specifying and rendering the true proposal.
The takeaways here are simple: Make the first meeting very important and purpose driven; use the conversation to frame the project; get a commitment based on size and complexity. And, very important… Use design resources (not the salesperson) to produce the proposal/design response.
Salespeople will become experts at having the conversation: painting the dream, and getting a commitment on scope and budget. They’ll field more at-bats, improve their closing percentage, and generate more business. All the while passing along all the information needed to create a consistently executable design.
We encourage you to try it.
Keep it Vital.