There are five critical mistakes you can make that will kill a deal with any client, big or small…new or existing. They are:
- Not meeting the client’s expectations.
- Mishandling a client crisis.
- Taking on more than you can handle.
- Putting all your eggs in one basket.
- “Up cash creek without a paddle.”
Each one or a combination of these can not only kill the client relationship but also have the ability to take down your company as well.
Over our next few blogs, we’ll drill down into each one of these. In this lesson, we’ll cover the first two.
Not Meeting The Client’s Expectations
It’s essential you give your client exactly what you promised during the negotiation portion of your sales cycle. If an event does happen where there is no way to meet the client’s expectations, not only do you have to find a way to fix the situation, but you also have to uncover where it all went wrong.
A couple of matters could have contributed to this problem:
- Bad salesmanship
- This could mean the salesperson was trying too hard to seal the deal and didn’t listen to the client’s needs. We all know this unfortunately happens a lot.
- Lack of communication
- This breakdown occurs between the salesperson and your service operations department. This event occurs more than you think. Inevitably, the sales rep gets blamed by the client and internally, but that is not always fair. Many companies need to improve their onboarding and transition management processes to ensure the new players in client service or the implementation team are up to speed on the client’s primary objectives and ready to properly support the new client even though they were not involved in the sales pursuit discussions like the salesperson was.
In order to avoid these mistakes, you need to put a clear plan of action into place that all of your sales staff needs to follow:
- Think before you speak.
- Give yourself a break.
- Perfect your process.
- Pre-format over-deliverables.
- Stay hands-on throughout the entire process (both internally and externally).
- Define success.
- Don’t vanish once the deal is closed.
Mishandling a Client Crisis
A client crisis will happen, but how you respond and fix it will define your company and set the tone for future interactions with your clients. You need to respond quickly and effectively. This will help you gain even more trust and confidence from your client.
Some simple tips can help you deal with any client crisis:
- Take responsibility and apologize to the client no matter who is at fault.
- Act swiftly and effectively.
- Step in, connect the dots, and take control of the situation.
- Never point fingers or place blame.
- Stay in constant communication with your client.
- Stay calm throughout the situation.
- Keep your eye on the ball.
Now, that you know the top two mistakes you can make to destroy a top-tier client relationship, you’ll know better how to avoid making these mistakes in the first place and know how to put a plan of action into place in case of a crisis.
Next time, we’ll talk about the 3rd and 4th killer mistakes you can make in working with your upper echelon clientele.
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In the last post, we covered negotiating with your big fish and how to nurture and build on the relationships you are creating. Today, we’ll explore the power your fish has and how to utilize that for your benefit.
One of the most important aspects of this is to keep your cheerleader cheering. This refers to the champion you created in the company. He or she needs to stay loyal to you so you can continue a profitable partnership with your fish. You can keep your ally going by offering or doing a number of things to show appreciation. Examples include:
- Share the limelight.
- Help them thank their company with new products and services.
- Emotionally connect them to your company.
- Know when to leave them alone.
- Keep your “family” happy.
- Stay on the front lines.
Now that you have some ideas on how to build solid relationships, you need to seek out people with whom to cultivate these relationships. These alliances will help you get bigger clients that stay with you forever. You can often get in the door by offering them something in exchange for something they need, such as:
- Better work experience
These are all great ways to feed your alliance. Additionally, you need to go into a relationship considering the things a big fish can offer you besides money. These can include:
- The opportunity for your business to expand.
- The opportunity to learn from the experience and find ways to grow.
- The opportunity to improve your processes, systems, and other means of doing business.
These are some of the best ways to keep your alliances going strong and your partnerships fresh and content.
Lastly, thank you for your continued readership of the RevSherpas Growth Academy blog and for diligently following along our blueprint and extended case study and blueprint for pursuing, landing, and partnering with the big fish.
Don’t forget to also follow our other blog on our main company page, too!
Continuing with our case study of how to land the “big fish,” we are now about to enter our first face to face meeting with the”Larger than Life” prospect. First, there are a few things you need to do and consider to be as prepared as possible:
- Make a list of what you want to accomplish during the meeting.
- Anticipate potential concerns from the prospect.
- Check to make sure you are completely prepared.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Bring support staff with you.
- Use and respect the prospect’s format.
- Always follow through.
- Ask for what you need and seal the deal.
- Simplify your prospect’s life.
- Find ways to boost your credibility.
- Build and nurture relationships.
- Learn from “no”. Find out what didn’t work so you know how to change it for the next time.
These are all important things to do both before and during your presentation. With confidence behind your company and product, you will catch that big fish.
The next step of the process is negotiation. This can seem a little intimidating, but with a few tips and tricks, it can become natural to you.
Here are some tips to help you negotiate successfully:
- Build a pricing strategy and stick with it.
- Prioritize what you plan to offer. This should include what really matters to you and what you are willing to give in on.
- Don’t give in too quickly.
- Negotiate with a person, not a “company”. Don’t let their answer be that they would like to, but can’t.
- Don’t sell yourself short.
- Mitigate your pricing. If you go to low you won’t be able to raise it back up and you need to make a profit.
- Don’t sacrifice quality for the deal.
- Your services should always count as costs.
- Boost margins with add-ons.
- Handle requests for proposals (RFPs) with the utmost care.
These are the ways you make sure that both parties are getting the best possible buying experience and outcome from the partnership. Once you start meeting or working together, it’s important to continue to build your relationship so that that the representative becomes a big ally of yours. That way, he or she is more likely to vouch for you and build on the partnership you have with their company.
We like to call this person a “champion.” They are a champion for your company and can bring a stronger, brighter future to your company. Typically, a great champion exhibits the following characteristics:
- Respected by supervisors
- Socially networked
- Thinks in the best interest of the long run of her company
- Able to quickly navigate through the company to get things done
- Willing to give credit to another person
- Shares the same business philosophy, values, and vision as you
Now, that you know how to negotiate for what is best for both parties and leverage that relationship with your champion, we’re going to talk about how to best use your fish’s power to your benefit.
If you need help with any of the negotiation or courting processes, take a look at our RevSherpas Growth Academy E-Learning Marketing platform to get access to a wealth of great tools and resources to help you grow your business and be more successful. Many consider it to be an “MBA in a box” and there is no other offering on the market like it.
In our previous blog, we talked about successfully reaching, meeting in person, and making a tremendous first impression with your “big fish” prospect. Now, we’re going to explore how to uncover the personality of your prospective big fish so that you can quickly and properly match the right salesperson with the prospect.
To do so, you need to follow two steps:
- Profile your salespeople’s personalities.
- Match the right salesperson to your target fish.
Essentially, there are three different selling personalities:
- The Sage
- The Pal
- The Pit Bull
This salesperson offers knowledge, experience, comfort, and trust. He or she can make a concerned customer feel at ease. In order to be successful, he or she needs plenty of information, a demo of the product/service, references, and case studies, if possible.
Much like it sounds, this is a sales rep that shines at building relationships. This type of salesperson can instantly relate to the prospective client and make them seem like old friends in no time. He or she works best with clients who are looking for friendship, information, and in a similar peer group as the salesperson. This can include anything from age and culture to hobbies and nightlife.
While sharing experiences can be beneficial to creating a new relationship, your salesperson must always keep it professional and dignified. Once this personality match is found, it will be important for sales management to provide ample entertainment (or schmoozing) budget and product/technical support to appropriately meet the client’s needs.
The Pit Bull
Clearly, this personality type is a little more aggressive than the others. This salesperson is all about business and the bottom line. While this may seem harsh to a lot of people, there is a set of business people out there that want the same thing. They respect someone who can get down to business and the benefits of a partnership. This salesperson will need to be trusted with a little authority as they will likely be closing deals on the spot. They’ll need plenty of resources and access to products and services. They are best placed in environments where they can work independently, exercise their authoritative discretion, and seal deals quickly.
These can all be successful when each is used in the right selling environment. You can easily see how matching the right salesperson for the client can secure larger and longer contracts. Failure to do so will result in the prospect becoming overwhelmed, dissatisfied, or dazed and confused, and potentially lead to lost deals.
If you need help figuring out which of your sales personnel fit into these three areas, please contact us to schedule your initial complimentary business development strategy session. We’ll help you kick it into high gear and get your big fish plan in action!
Our last post detailed how to learn about your “big fish” and prepare for the first contact you’ll make with them. This first contact is essential to your success. You need to instill confidence in them. They need to know you can fulfill exactly what you are offering on time, at a good price, and at the high-quality level you promise.
Today, we’ll dive into the big approach and how to make that perfect first impression. Before you put together your approach plan, you need to choose which big fish you’re going after. Take a look at your notes and the research you’ve done about prospective fish. Then decide which one will be the easiest approach to start out with.
There are a series of things to go through in choosing which fish to start with. They are:
- Compile Your Hit List
- Select the Best Target
- Position Your Business
Compile Your Hit List
Start with a list of all the companies you’ve been considering. Then, narrow it down to the ones you know could use your products or services. Don’t overlook obvious choices, whether they are big or small. Remember, even small companies could be big fish in the future.
Select the Best Target
Once you’ve got your list narrowed down, you need to decide which one is the best fish to start with. You need to consider a couple of things:
- Which have the most purchasing resources to spend?
- Does their company vision complement yours?
- What are their employee incentive programs as they relate to your products/services?
- What’s the company’s real need for you?
- Will the partnership lead you off-course?
Position Your Business
You need to be crystal clear on your market-dominating position, your USP, how you intend to prioritize and serve the larger client(s), and what everyone’s role is on the deal pursuit team.
The more prepared you are for the upcoming calls and meetings with the big fish the better. Lack of preparation at any stage of the pre-sales or sales cycle will immediately cause the larger prospect to think, “That don’t impress me much!” a la Shania Twain in the late 90s and eliminate you from contention. It is 2020 after all, so get in the game and get after it…
Assuming you now have a target prospect in mind to pursue and you’re approach is locked in, it’s time to execute your plan.
Here’s the step-by-step plan to help you make a good first impression:
- Build and analyze your database. Divide your leads into three different categories: hot leads, great fits, and secondary leads.
- Send out introductory mailings to your target to introduce yourself and your company’s services, products, and vision. They need to be short, clean, and concise.
- Follow up with your first phone call 2-3 days after they would have received the mailings. During the phone call, find out whom you need to be speaking with in the future and try to set up a meeting with the right person.
- Follow up your phone call with another mailing that thanks them for taking the time to speak with you and offer more details about your products/services. Use this letter as an opportunity to set up a meeting to do a presentation.
- Follow up the letter with another phone call a couple of days after they would have received the letter. This phone call is to help you further develop your relationship with the prospective client. You should also be able to set up a
presentation meeting with them.
- Call again a week later if they haven’t agreed to a meeting or presentation. Ask if they received your creative letter (the second one) and if they have a minute when you can stop by and introduce yourself in person.
Now, don’t be upset if you don’t seal the deal right away. Some people simply take a little longer to woo. This can all be a little intimidating at first, but when you know you are offering a quality product/service, you can’t go wrong. Once you’ve gone through this process and make the first contact (and hopefully a good first impression) it’s time to put your best salesperson or team forward to seal the deal.
If you need help putting together your approach to make a good first impression, our customer experience strategists and revenue growth acceleration coaches can help you formulate your initial prospecting and ongoing follow-up campaigns. Additionally, the RevSherpas Growth Academy gives you and your team access to a wealth of innovative business growth strategies and industry-tailored advertising tools and templates to streamline your sales processes, shorten sales cycles, and boost revenues.
What are you waiting for? Land the big fish TODAY and elevate your business or practice to the top with RevSherpas!