Reaching the goal with relationships and soft skills

Reaching the goal with relationships and soft skills

For complex services – such as IT solutions – the sale can take months. Such “deals” must be managed strategically accordingly. These seven steps can help with this. […]

You want the job. So it is important to influence the customer’s purchase decision in your favor. For this you need to know: who is involved in the decision? What criteria are used to decide? And: When and how will it be decided?

You can only influence the customer’s purchase decision by exchanging ideas with them. So weave as many personal wires as possible between your selling center and the customer’s buying center – and operate a targeted customer relationship management.

The solutions agreed in “big deals” are mostly “customized”. Consequently, the customer can only check them to a limited extent before placing the order. He must trust that you and your team can (realize) the promised solution. Provide him with the necessary decision-making security by offering him the opportunity to familiarize himself with your organization personally – at the buyer-seller level and at the technician and developer level (for example, through joint reference customer visits, through cooperation in specification workshops, through pre-studies and tests – if possible even before the official request or tender).

“Make your customers successful!“ Your actions should be guided by this maxim. For this, you first need to know and understand the customer with his needs. So get comprehensive information about him – for example, by talking with his cooperation partners (customers, suppliers, etc.). And gather a lot of information about him in the conversations with his buying center: who are his customers? How does his market tick? What does he think will make him more successful than his competitors in the future? How can we support him in this? How does he measure success?

Your customer is looking for a solution for a “challenge”. He makes a variety of demands on them: technical, organizational, social-human and commercial-economic, called T.A.S.K. for short. Often the customer is not aware of the complexity of his requirements. Explore them anyway. And make it clear to him (if it makes sense in terms of sales strategy). After all, the more requirements he makes, the greater the keyboard on which you can play to achieve your goal.

With big deals, the customer usually makes an investment decision for many years. He is also committed to a solution and /or a partner in the long term. The consequential costs and damages of a wrong decision can be correspondingly large. Make this clear to the customer. Because this allows you to relativize the cost of the current investment. And you can score more easily, for example, with your experience and support.

Big deals are often compulsively rationalized by customers (by means of specifications, specifications, complex contracts). You have to offer the customer the desired rational benefit – there is no way around it. But this can usually also be your fiercest competitors. So, you should strive to gradually make the client feel “this is the right partner” because of the “added value” that you offer him in the personal relationship.

If you succeed in this, then you will gradually be invited to the “desired” or “target supplier” and as such to the award negotiations. If you have a professional negotiation strategy there, then your chance of receiving the order is great – at the desired conditions.

*Peter Schreiber is the owner of the consulting and training company Peter Schreiber & Partner.

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