Put the Customer First - Really!

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You, the software vendor, are making your pitch.  It breaks down into three sections:
  1. Microsoft has amazing software,
  2. You are an amazing Microsoft representative, and
  3. Here's how you would address my needs.
It's very logical, isn't it?  The problem is that every vendor I see has the same pitch.  It's like Microsoft has pre-packaged the sales presentation (actually, Microsoft does do that, but that's a story for another day).  Another problem is that my eyes have glazed over by the time you get to the good stuff. Really.  I'm stifling yawns by the end of the first section.  You see, I can predict what you're going to present, so I lose interest.  There's no way you're going to say that Microsoft is anything other than perfect or that anybody might have a better team than yours. What if we turned the whole presentation around?  What if the presentation started with my problems?  What if instead of filling the screen with the logos of the other companies that use the software, it was filled with diagrams showing what I need?  You'd have my attention. Really.  I'd be on the edge of my seat. Then, once you've got my attention by showing me that you understand me, what if the salesperson stands back and lets the team speak?  That would show me that you have confidence in the people who are going to do the work.  YES, let the techie speak!  Coach him/her before hand.  Tell them it's OK to be nervous, but let them say something like, "I spoke to your technical staff about your current hardware.  We think you can continue to use your existing workstations and network.  All that will be required is a separate server for the Microsoft system."  Then, your implementation manager could give me a run down of a sample implementation for a company my size.  I would get a chance to assess the chemistry between my staff and yours. After that, I'd be all questions.  Have you done this kind of implementation before?  Who are your other clients?  Can the Microsoft system handle my requirements?  You could then do the rest of your presentation, and get through all of your material without a single yawn from me. Really!

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