After 28 years in sales, Jerry Moy, Business Development Manager for strategic ISV accounts at Epson, says he’d love to tell you that you’ll make a sale after only one contact with a lead, “but it’s pretty rare.” When you approach a new prospect, you need to build a rapport, develop a relationship, and identify your prospect’s needs. Startups may also need to introduce their companies and products to the market. “You can’t do it all on the first call,” says Moy.
Setting up the Second Sales Call
So if you need more time with a prospect, how do you make sure you get it? Moy says one of the most important objectives of your first call with a lead — and with subsequent calls — is finding a reason to call again.
“Come up with an action item that includes a reason to call back. The trick is finding something compelling — there isn’t always an obvious reason for a return call. You have to find what will capture their attention,” says Moy. For example, you could find the answer to a question your prospect has or research potential solutions to their problems, but it has to be something the prospect finds interesting and valuable. Something that distinguishes you from the competition.
Moy points out your reason to call back doesn’t necessarily have to be related to your products. You can call after an event to see how it went or to ask how things are going. “Use what you can to get your foot in the door and build a relationship,” says Moy.
Once you’re on the phone or at the second meeting, Moy says there’s one more thing you need to add to your agenda from your first sales contact: Look for ways to close the sale. You may find that your product meets the prospect’s needs that you’ve identified or you may see an opening based on a competitor’s shortcomings. “While it may sound cold, the idea is to sell something,” Moy comments. “The second contact should move you toward that goal.”
And the Third Sales Call …
Moy says be prepared to follow up again — and again — to close a deal, but with every contact, always advance toward your goal of building a relationship and subsequently closing the sale. Although closing the deal may take some time, Moy says you’ll also find keeping in touch with prospects helps from a networking standpoint. “You may get a new lead that was referred from one of your prospects who thinks your software could help,” Moy explains.
He adds, “Competition will also be knocking on the door. Maintaining that relationship will remind them why they chose you, or remind them that you are always the best option. You can never assume your customer will always be ‘your’ customer.”
When to Walk Away
Is it ever time to give up? Moy says, although some salespeople don’t agree, the answer is yes. “There’s always that guy with bad cologne who sells used cars and doesn’t take no for an answer. Don’t be that guy,” he says. “Listen to the customer. When you don’t have a solution, you have to walk away. Trust me, they’ll appreciate the honesty, but always leave the door open. Their needs will change, and so will your solutions.”
Partner to Make Sales Easier
Moy says as an ISV, remember it’s not necessary to approach the sales process alone. “You may have the best software, but you may not have the resources or capability to sell it. It makes sense to pair your software with the best hardware. Rely upon partners to fill the gaps, helping you offer a best-of-breed solution.”
“You may pride yourself on your ability to multitask, but sometimes, you don’t have to. There are partners that are more than happy to have you offload work to them,” Moy comments. “When you talk to prospective hardware partners, ask how they can support your sales efforts. At the end of the day, it will make your life easier.”
Jerry Moy is the Business Development Manager for Epson America’s Business Systems Division. He currently has responsibility for North American strategic ISV accounts. Jerry has over 28 years of experience in the auto-identification, retail & hospitality POS industries from a manufacturing and solution sales perspective. Prior to Epson, he was with Citizen Systems, focusing on Auto-ID and POS growth to all strategic markets, and at Zebra Technologies in the manufactured barcode labeling printer division. Jerry has a B.A. in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University and currently resides in the Chicago area.