Too often, providers want to go from first contact to closing the sale with a school. Then when the sale does not go through they wonder “well, what happened, everything seemed to be going good!?” But why wasn’t it going great? I’ll tell you…you didn’t take the time to build the relationship. There's no connection from an introduction. Truthfully how can there be when there was no time taken to cultivate the relationship. In the building process you allow room for the school to establish a respect for your expertise and develop a trust in your company's capabilities and knowledge.
The first step is to change you mindset form the “Always be closing” mentality that you have been taught in sales. Next, do your research. You need to let them know what the current need for your services may be. Find some interesting things going on in the school and community that you can discuss. The plan is to get this done before a meeting, but we all know you won't always be able to do your research prior to the introduction. For the future, allow time to do the correct research before the next time you email, meet, or speak. Utilize the first meeting to ask questions that allow you to find out more about their company or school.
- Their stage of the buying cycle
- Their specific pain point (if your product addresses more than one)
- Their vertical industry
- Their job title
Take the information that you’ve learned and build from there by finding a way your company can add value and help them reach their desired outcome. Remember, you are the expert so there is always additional knowledge that you can bring to the table and hopefully give them some new insight on how your company can help there overall performance.
- Provide them with Insights
- Educate them
- Entertain them
- Provide them with data that is interesting. e.g. survey results that show what are other customers like them doing in some area of interest.
- Use other recognized experts to help provide
- Provide them with Best Practices in their industry and/or job function
- Review content, products, in a way that is useful to them
- Figure out ways to make them more successful in their job
When this relationship builds to a level of trust, you will find the client contacting you to ask more in depth questions about how your services can help them improve. At this moment you will know that there is some success and need. This is where you can begin to propose some options that would work best for them to review and hopefully collaborate. Show them how you can bring the value and resources they need to be great. Once the sale happens continue to check on them. See how things are going and continue to build from there. Always be sure to ask for their feedback. Show that you value their opinion and desire their business and most importantly their relationship.