Got a long list of prospects and don’t know where to start? If so, you’re not alone. Because software is such a universal business tool it’s not unusual for a software sales territory to comprise hundreds or even thousands of businesses. Depending on the size of the software firm, reps frequently are handed a list of dozens of facilities at which they might call. Obviously you want to focus your time and energy on the prospects who are the most likely to buy your software, a task that is easier said than done.
Not to worry. Experienced software sales reps go through a well-defined process to identify customers who are most likely to buy. The key to this process is to visualize, as clearly as possible, the type of customer most likely to buy your software and then cut down your list to the best prospects. This process is accomplished through four distinct steps.
Step #1: Visualize your target. Ask yourself the following questions: What specific benefit or improvement will occur in my customers’ lives as the result of them using this software? How will they feel differently because they are using it? Who is most likely to experience these positive feelings? What is their income, position, experience and level of authority? Your goal for this step is to determine your ideal customer because a customer’s expectation of a positive feeling largely determines whether a sale will take place.
Step #2: Identify your strengths. Ask yourself the following questions: What is it that we do better than any other company? Why should our ideal customer buy from us rather than the competition? If our competitors were asked – and answered honestly – what would they say that our company does better than anyone else? Your goal for this step is to determine what’s unique about your company’s software so you can match those characteristics more closely to the desires and expectations of potential customers.
Step #3: Match strengths and targets. Ask yourself the following question: Who, specifically, are the customers who would value and appreciate what our software does better than our competitor’s software? Your goal for this step is to determine a specific type of customer who is the best match for your software. This is a process of elimination, not inclusion! You want to pick your shots, so think like a specific rather than global.
Step #4: Concentrate your sales efforts. Focus on those few customers who can benefit the most from your company’s products or services. Your ideal customer should want your product, need your product, be able to use your product and afford your product. Calling on customers who don’t fit the profile you’ve created probably will not result in a sale.
The above is based on a conversation with Brian Tracy, chairman of Brian Tracy International, a human resource company based in San Diego, CA. He can be reached at 858-481-2977 or through www.briantracy.com.