As a channel sales professional, you've experienced many different types of sale scenarios. Sometimes a channel partner responds ready to buy and knows exactly what they want. Sometimes, the channel lead is unsure about committing but can be sold on a package that perfectly suits their needs. And sometimes, you find yourself working with a channel lead who starts on the fence and is all-too-ready to walk away.
Whether you don't have exactly what the lead needs or you're just talking with a shy prospect who's not ready to commit, it's important to have a few tricks up your sleeve to save a sale that's about to walk back out the door.
1) Communicate Like a Friend
The first step is to shake off that 'sales' stigma that many modern customers are leery about. Rather than coming in hard with a sales pitch, your goal is to connect with your lead contact. Especially for channel leads who aren't sure about the idea of partnership. Speak to your leads as if they are already partners in your shared goal of serving them with your product. You're not trying to 'push' a particular package, you want to become the lead's friend and their company's CAM (channel account manager); guiding them to a good choice they'll be proud to be a part of in the future..
Keep this attitude from the very beginning, creating a helpful rapport instead of just pitching products.
2) Find Out What the Lead Really Wants
Once you've established a rapport with the lead, you can start digging into what they're really looking for. If an entire line of products doesn't appeal to them, then maybe you're on the wrong vein. Perhaps the lead wants a package that will work with a particular production line of theirs, or the price point matters more than the package details to them. Whatever the lead's individual priorities, find them out.
Knowing what your channel lead businesses really care about is what will help you connect them with the products that they will find persuasive and worthwhile.
3) Hand-Pick Alternatives
As the lead contact's buddy with a full understanding of their priorities, you can now put together a far more personalized selection of products or services that a channel partner might appreciate. If you have a product suggestion engine and can use it deftly, punch in the channel partner's needs and see what comes out. But don't just let a machine do the personalizing for you.
Use your own human intuition and personal understanding of the lead company to hand-pick what you suggest and the order you suggest it in. Let the customer know that you've put a little time and thought into products they might truly appreciate. This will get their attention and cause many people to completely reconsider a dissatisfied attitude.
4) Offer a Discount or Guarantee
Customers who are tempted by a package but are still on the fence about commitment might be swayed by a quality guarantee of some sort. If you can reassure the customer that they won't be stuck with a product that turns out not to be perfect, you can significantly increase your chance of closing a sale.
Many brands offer first-month discounts to customers who begin a new service and this can act as a one-month satisfaction guarantee. Other brands offer an actual guarantee, assuring that a product will be taken back, refunded, or service stopped without renewal if the customer is dissatisfied at the end of the guarantee period.
Offer this as an assurance, letting cautious channel leads know that their satisfaction is more important to the company than just closing a sale.
5) Ask the Lead for Suggestions
Finally, ask the lead contact to open up and make a suggestion. If they seem not to like or be satisfied with any product or package, ask what would satisfy them. Pitch as the company's desire to improve and to build a partnership. If nothing the company offers will satisfy them, ask the channel lead to become the "expert" on their own satisfaction. What are your packages missing that would make them happy? What could be different about your offerings that would have changed their mind?
Make the lead know they are important and open a channel for real feedback that could improve the company.
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