I remember my days selling Microsoft Office & Lotus Smart Suite, Lotus Notes [Domino] & MS Exchange, Oracle Work Group Edition & MS SQL Server, SCO UNIX Openserver & MS Windows NT. Depending on who I am selling to or who I am selling against, I used to propose one of these two competing products. And bet on it for the rest of the sales process in that account.
Tough call. I hear that.
When you work with a distributor carrying competing products, it’s always a tough call.
There was a cellphone operator called Skycell. I learnt from the market that they were on the look out for a groupware solution. I took my colleague from the consulting team [who was technically far superior to me] for the call. We decided to propose Lotus notes even before landing up there. Don’t ask me how we decided on that. During the call, the manager whom we met asked us what do we propose. We looked at each other and took a risk and said Lotus Notes. Rest is history. We not only sold but also implemented. We were with them & saw them reap benefits from it. That account became an anchor client for us.
I remember what Don Peppers, a Thought Leader in Customer Experience, Marketing & Sales said. He was looking at a sales person at a shoe store during Christmas sale. The sales person was recommending only American shoes to every customer. He was surprised. When the sales guy took a break, Don went up to him and asked him why is he referring only American Shoes whereas the store carries Nike, Reebok etc. He asked him if American shoes offers him more commission or his manager asked him to sell or what. The sales guy said: “None of those are reasons. American shoes come pre-laced whereas the other shoes don’t. I will spend 4 mins lacing up each pair & that would affect sales. Customers will walk away.”
Who is the customer here? Think about it.
Lotus got acquired by IBM but it took 18 years for them to retire Lotus Symphony and contribute the code to Apache Open Office. You should narrow the focus to grow big. Just like Fred Luca decided to focus on one type of sandwich, the submarine sandwich when other delicatessens sold a hundred things. You may not have heard of Fred Luca but I am sure you have heard of his company Subway.
Two Takeaways in this post:
- Find who is your real customer and sell to him/her.
- Narrow the focus if you want customers to remember you for “one thing”.
#b2b #b2c #sales