June 18, 2015
Business owners and executives are pretty clear on how they want to work with IT providers:
Understand my requirements.
Bring your expertise and make a solid recommendation when I present you with problem.
Involve an expert when you don’t have the answer.
Present new ideas on how I can run our business better through our IT.
Offer strategic, realistic recommendations for our IT direction.
Deliver on your promises, on time.
If you take these actions successfully, executives come to rely on you and will view you as what we in sales refer to as a “trusted adviser.” They view you as an extension of their team and freely solicit your recommendations—and business.
But it takes time to earn trusted adviser status. It occurs over numerous meetings and phone calls as you work closely together. With business owners and COOs who are already too busy, they may not recognize your trusted adviser value for months. With CFOs who are risk-adverse, it can take years.
As customers do more of their own pre-sales education before ever contacting a sales rep, relying solely on your sales process to build trusted adviser status isn’t enough.
Yes, you have must still meet each of these expectations throughout the sales process.
But you also have to demonstrate your trusted adviser culture before the first conversation. This is where your messaging becomes critical. Saying that you want to be a trusted adviser to them won’t convey the message. That’s our sales and marketing jargon—not theirs.
Instead, use your lead-generation and nurturing campaigns with their provocative, thought-provoking and educational content to convey what makes you a trusted adviser to customers you serve today. Provide the information prospects need to experience a trusted adviser relationship with you, and make them want more. They experience your knowledge, ideas and recommendations.
As you assume a trusted adviser role in your lead-generation content and messaging, you personify the vendor relationship your prospects most crave. And while they may not acknowledge the term “trusted adviser,” they’ll know you are the IT provider they want to trust with their business.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the award-winning books, “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the small and midmarket business (SMB) segment.
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