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Q3/2011 Profiling

A Fluent Moment

Did you know…

Some of today’s top business leaders are applying basic feature and benefit sales methodology when trying to institute change in their organizations. They know that they stand a better chance of getting commitment to and acceptance of their ideas if they show people how they will benefit from them.

Profiling

Profiling is tantamount to the proverbial “ounce of prevention.” It is part of a consultant’s due diligence.

In this business we all like to think and say that “we provide customized solutions tailored to [the client’s] needs.” Some of us even have this mantra emblazoned across our websites. Is this really a differentiator anymore? Of course ideas and actions are two different things.

It could very well be that the differentiator for you in this customization process begins not at proposal-writing, but before you even pick up the phone for that initial contact. Whether you’re targeting the enterprise or the smallest “S in “SMB” there are job functions and core concerns at the c-level. While there are many similarities regardless of the size of your target company, there are unique challenges at each entity that can be uncovered with a little well-placed research before initial contact. This is the essence of profiling: Knowing who you’re contacting, what they “do all day,” what their concerns are, and how you can match your company’s strengths to fill their needs.

Here are the key elements in this profiling process. Remembering these in each potential target engagement will help you get to the roots sooner, uncover business needs more rapidly, and, by default, shorten the consultative selling cycle:

  • Profile the specific roles and priorities of the target individuals within their organization
  • Identify specific goals for each client interaction
  • Customize a line of questioning to uncover roles, responsibilities and business needs
  • Align your questions to the specific job function and title of the prospective buyer

By investing your time in profiling prior to that initial contact, you’ll be better equipped to have the business needs conversation that must take place in order for you to be effective. You’ll be on your way to effective consulting and most likely save yourself a “pound of cure” a little later down the road.

Consultative Corner

Do you know your competition?

We’re all called upon to do more with our time while our reserve of resources seems to shrink. Remember that our prospects and clients are under the same pressure to perform. One effective business practice is to dedicate a small portion of your day or week to “study up” on the state of our business. Just like a football coach dedicates hours to reviewing game films of his own team as well as the competition, we should “hit the film room” regularly as well.

How much do you know about your competition? Do you know when the salespeople at your competition will be more willing to give away their shirt to close a deal? A quick look at when their fiscal year-end comes should give you a bit of a hint. It’s those little things that can make the difference between closing a six-figure deal and heading back to your office to “learn from experience” while the competition pops open a cold one.

Doing your homework on suspects will lead to increased prospects. Doing your homework on the industry as a whole will lead to a better understanding of the businesses function and how you can help them do so more effectively.


A Fluent Vision

Whether your sales infrastructure needs to be built from scratch, re-engineered, or simply re-invigorated; AFV is the answer. AFV can help you create A Fluent Vision.

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