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Friday, September 14, 2018

What Customers Say About You...After you Leave the Room(Zoom)

Edited, 9/2018

For all the managed print services sales classes, books, seminars, webinars, and white papers I've seen, nobody talks about the "Golden Minutes".

Wouldn't it be interesting to hang around after a customer presentation and hear what your prospect says about you, your presentation, and your offer?

Think about it, you've planned, written, or created the perfect proposal and slide deck. After 45 minutes of flawless, formulaic presentation you've trialed for a signature, clarified, isolated, and answered objections, moving the opportunity down the sales funnel - you can practically smell the 'share of wallet'.

"I am telling you, from coast to coast to coast, you, the sales professional, and your prospects ARE NOT ALIGNED."

You obtain as much commitment as possible, short of gaining a signature.

After the handshakes, promises of follow-up, "Looking forward to working with you." statements, and thanking the receptionist, you find yourself in the parking lot, debriefing with the team. You're talking about them, as they are talking about you.

The most important conversation is the one held 5 minutes after you leave -
  • Do you think they comment on your choice of colors for your Powerpoint? 
  • How about all your references? 
  • Are they looking forward to being your partner or adding you to the vendor list?

I've had conversations with clients who've paid me to help them bring in a program.

I am telling you, from coast to coast to coast, you, the sales professional, and your prospects ARE NOT ALIGNED.

I've been there five minutes after vendors, partners, OEMs, supplies, dealers, and VARs make stellar and expensive presentations. I've talked about you with all manner of C-Level and director types, it's not pretty. Actually, it is sad.

Here is a summary of comments I've heard with my own ears:

"I can't believe we sat through a 35-slide presentation. It could have been two slides." - SMB, North Carolina

"They didn't seem to listen." - 1,110-employee corporation, Southern California

"Salespeople. They talk too much. All he did was repeat my questions - and his answers." - 100 employee, heavy equipment dealer, Wisconsin

"Wow. That was painful." - Healthcare, North Carolina

"We don't like dealing with salespeople because of what she just did. She didn't listen, spun our questions around, and kept to her agenda, not ours." - Global, Fortune 100 conglomerate

I could go on. I could mention the wholesale distribution company in Washington, D.C., spa manufacturer in Rancho Cucamonga, property management firm in Milwaukee, or water testing lab in Riverside, California.

On and on and on, constant over time, across verticals and company size. It would be easy to blame the myriad of training courses that dot the landscape and span the decades. Past and present courses treat symptoms, not the cause.

In today's 'just-in-time-Everything as a Service' mentality, thirty-day cycles, and quotas are killing any hope of sustainable business models. The transition should come from higher up the integration chain - but it won't. The cure is organic, from the ground up.

It comes back to personal accountability and self-training and I'd love to help.

Drop a comment, or ask a question.


- If you're rolling your eyes because you know this isn't about you, perhaps it is better you don't think about conversations behind your back.

Ignorance is bliss.

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