You’ve put in the time planting seeds and tending to your garden.  You’ve done the work to build relationships, offer expertise, and establish yourself as a trusted resource when it comes to IT decision making within an organization. But through all of the nurturing and relationship building, you are no doubt beginning to wonder when it will be the right time to start reaping the benefits for your organization. When is it time to harvest the bounty of this figurative garden you have worked so hard to establish? When is it time to transition from being a trusted resource to being the trusted vendor?  When is it time to take an order or sign a contract?  When is it time to SELL?

The answer is quite simple.  The time to sell something to your customer is when they ask you to do so.

Funny sales comic

Customers will ask to buy from you.
Image courtesy of Tony Greenberg.

In the first few parts of this series on IT Sales Prospecting, available herehere, and here, we discussed that the real way to grow your revenue and expand your business has less to do with “selling” and more to do with building relationships over time.  If you want to create sustained success – a sales engine – then you have to put off the short-term gratification that comes with simply selling something and invest in the longer-term development of a company or individual that makes them a partner and customer for life.  Changing your behavior from a cultivator of trust to that of a common salesperson after all the work you’ve put into building a relationship would undo everything. You would be voluntarily invalidating all of that work that went into creating a real relationship and it would become apparent that, in the end, you were just another salesperson.   You weren’t genuinely trying to help. Rather, you were simply trying to find the best way to position the client for an eventual sale. For shame.

Good salespeople convince the prospect that the prospect’s best interests are what they have in mind.  Great salespeople demonstrate that the prospect’s best interests and their own interests are mutually aligned.

Good salespeople say, “This solution will save you money!  This product will save you time!”

Great salespeople say, “This is good for us both.”

Business phone ringing

Cultivate relationships and your phone will begin ringing with new business.
Image courtesy of Soundtel

Demonstrating that your best interests are aligned with your client comes from (1) evangelizing what your company offers and (2) helping the client selflessly as much as possible. Trust me: your leads will be savvy and astute enough to recognize when the two overlap.

There are a lot of good salespeople out there.  There aren’t very many great salespeople out there, but the ones that do exist are likely following this Playbook or something like it. If you do these two things consistently, you will be outright shocked at how often the client asks you to handle the details of the solution on their behalf. There will be very little discussion of price and even less meddling by the client. Why? Because they already trust you as expert and fair. “Dan, we need a new server and need it installed by next weekend. Is this something you could do for us? Just let me know how it goes and send me the invoice when you are done…”

If Managed Services is your core offering, you’ll start to field calls that sound something like this: “Hey there, it’s Fred over at Acme Corp.  We’ve really grown in the last couple years and couldn’t have done it without your help. Listen, I think we’re getting too large to simply call you for advice when we need something.  There are a lot of employees here, a lot of computers, a few servers….would you manage all of this for us?  Just let me know the cost and send over your standard contract and I’ll get it back to you right away.”

Build partnerships over time.

It’s worth the time necessary to build partnerships.
Image courtesy of iGroup Advisors.

If you’ve never been comfortable with selling things then these last few posts should demonstrate that there is a different, better way to add more customers, generate more revenue, and grow your business. Building relationships with potential customers will be challenging, but it is also fun and rewarding. Attend events, join business groups, ask for referrals. Have conversations that are about learning from other people instead of selling something.  Remember, you aren’t selling anything to these “seeds.” It isn’t time for that yet. It may never be time. Learn about other people’s businesses. Listen and ask lots of questions. Offer to help out. Do this long enough and one day you’ll wake up to realize your sales engine is roaring, your business is thriving, your garden is blooming…and you have yet to “sell” a single thing. Click here to start building a relationship with Mosaic NetworX for all of your data service needs.