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Selling High Tech

Most sales training courses focus on two things:

  • Finding the Customer’s Problems
  • Providing a Solution to those Problems

That approach is fine when customers have problems.

But what about the customers who don’t have problems?

This group—and it is a vast one—doesn’t feel any need to meet with, or educate, your salespeople. They are not inclined to disclose highly confidential information to a stranger in an effort to “find solutions” to problems they don’t believe they have.

Here’s the thing: Your products and services could provide a better future for these people—a much more profitable and successful future—but they simply don’t know it. It’s your job to educate them on the results you can help them achieve.

You’re actually doing them a disservice if you don’t do this. After all, you have the ability to improve their business results…if only they knew.

If you can successfully show them the better future that awaits, you can help them out and tap into a brand-new source of profitable business.

My new course, Selling High Tech, explains how to do just this.

I’ll explain everything your high-tech salespeople need to know about selling value, to the right people, at prices that are profitable to you and worth the investment to them.

Course Content

  1. Define Value
    • Why value is not “our people” or “our quality,” but about helping customers improve their revenue and profit
    • Ways to translate product and service attributes into business results for customers, like earning and saving money
    • How to talk to customers and describe how they benefit from your products in brief, clear, and specific terms
    • How to quantify the value of what you’re offering, so that you can set prices appropriately
    • Strategies for helping a potential customer envision the “better future” your company can help them achieve
  1. Create Versions
    • Why multiple price/performance versions are so widely used and successful in a variety of industries—and why high tech is no exception
    • How to version your products and services properly, so that each version provides a fair exchange of value for price
    • Why effective versioning serves to create demand
    • How to price your versions in a way that paves the path for faster and less confrontational negotiations
  1. Write the Pitch
    • How to get and keep the attention of busy customers, especially executives
    • How to effectively explain to different groups (purchasing, end users, etc.) the results you deliver
    • Keys to building trust and reducing perceived risk so that the prospect naturally moves toward the sale
    • Why you need to explain the downside to the customer of staying with the status quo
    • How to talk about money and price early in the sales process, so that you naturally wind up in a similar place regarding price (which is especially important following a long sales process)
  1. Compete Where You Can Win
    • Why high-tech companies spend too much time chasing business that they either can’t win or can’t win at a profit
    • How to define a true win for your company
    • How to qualify the right opportunities and prospects for your business and products
    • How to find out what kind of relationship the customer ideally wants with your company and make that relationship work for you
    • How to identify price buyers, value buyers, and “poker players”
    • How to determine the customer’s willingness and ability to pay before investing time and money in a sales opportunity
    • How to move qualified opportunities along, or exit gracefully when you determine you can’t win
  1. Negotiate Better Agreements with Professional Buyers
    • The importance of using soft skills for hard conversations and negotiations
    • How professional buyers are trained, how they think, and what to expect from them during negotiations
    • Key strategies to getting customers to accept tradeoffs between price and performance
    • How to get valuable testimonials from customers who typically don’t give them
    • How to respond to difficult questions and demands, including:
      • “Don’t you want to save the relationship?”
      • “All of your competitors are cooperating!”
      • “It’s so hard to do business with your company.”
      • “We just found out we need another 25% discount right away.”
      • “If you can’t give us what we want, I’m going to call your president and complain.”
      • “This is your last chance. If you don’t give us what we want, we’ll never buy from you again and put you on our blacklist.”

Location: On-site or Virtual
Length: Half-day
Audience: Sales Reps and Managers, Marketing, Product Management
Price: $395 to $595 per person

Learn More

If this training might be right for you, or if you have any questions I can answer, please contact me at 650-862-0688 or don@redchasm.com. I look forward to helping you improve your high-tech sales process and profitability.

 

How Do You Hire for Fit? Paint a Picture

If you’ve ever read anything about goal-setting, you’ll know that experts always advocate envisioning—with crystal clarity—the desired end result.

The same sort of practice can help you hire candidates who fit well with your company’s culture. Because they don’t yet know enough about your company to paint their own picture of what it would be like to work there, you need to do it for them.

If you do a good job of showing candidates what it’s really like to work at your company, they will be able to make a highly informed decision about whether or not they would enjoy working there. This is good for them and good for you as it increases job satisfaction and reduces preventable turnover.

Here’s what I recommend you tell candidates, regardless of whether they explicitly request this information:

  1. Why people choose to work for your company. The reasons could include compensation, career growth opportunities, learning, culture, or others. Spend some time really thinking about this one—the official party line on your company’s strengths may not actually be the true reason people decide to come to work for you.
  2. Why people choose to work for you personally. Do you have a strong record of coaching and training your people? Assembling highly effective teams? Promoting employees to bigger and better jobs? Having their backs and fighting for better compensation for them? Current and former direct reports may be able to provide some insights here.
  3. The level of authority and autonomy employees have. This includes the ability to make and execute their own strategy, allocate resources, hire and fire employees, and spend reasonable amounts of money without having to get prior approval from others.
  4. Your company’s compensation philosophy, along with the amount of money the person is most likely to earn in years one, two and three. Provide real-life numbers, not improbable best-case scenarios.
  5. Career growth opportunities. Some companies—because of size, entrenched higher-ups, or rules (implicit or explicit) about formal stepping-stones—offer few opportunities for advancement, or very slow paths up the career ladder. If this is the case at your company, be honest about likely promotions and timing without being overly negative. If, on the other hand, you offer tremendous opportunities for rapid advancement, shout it from the rooftops!

Obviously, there may be other areas you wish to cover with promising candidates; the above is a suggested minimum. The more they know about your company before accepting your offer, the better.

And don’t worry about scaring people away. Only the wrong people will be deterred—the ones who wouldn’t have worked out for you anyway.

A Template for Effective Customer Pitches and Presentations

As with many things, a template can be very helpful when it comes to effective customer pitches and presentations. Obviously, some level of customization will always be needed, but a solid template can help you pull together your presentation faster and help you get your key points across more effectively.

Here are a few general points to keep in mind:

  • Rank the points you want to make and start with the most important—this is common-sense advice, but it’s not common practice
  • Try to convey only one idea per slide; use more slides instead of jamming each slide with too much text/information. Text-dense slides are hard to read and psychologically daunting.
  • Use fewer words and graphics, and more white space. If you need to convey a lot of detailed information, write a summary and distribute it AFTER the presentation. Also, tell people upfront that you will be doing so, so that they don’t feel compelled to take a lot of detailed notes.
  • On each slide, get to the point…quickly
  • Remember that customers are distracted, and are frequently called out of pitches and presentations for various emergencies (sometimes, they simply leave because they’re bored). Because a scheduled talk can be interrupted at any time, do your best to convey the most important information within the first 10 minutes—people’s attention is most focused then, too.

Here is a template for your presentations that will help you save time and add some consistency to your presentations (which is very important in branding and marketing):

  1. Introduction: Who you are, why you’re here, what you’re going to talk about, and what you’d like from your audience (the customer) in return
  2. What you know about your audience and their problems: Talk a little about what you believe/understand about the audience’s situation and ask them if they agree. If they bring up anything new, tell them you’ll address it at the end of your presentation—and don’t forget to do so!
  3. Top 3 points: “Here are the most important things we want you to know—and why.” For example:
    • Top point #1: “We’ve developed a new way to process widgets that increases yield 400-fold for X kinds of customers/products.”
    • Top point #2: “These white papers, written in conjunction with our customers, show the data that proves Top point #1.”
    • Top point #3: “Customers who have purchased our product have seen these results and [if true] are ordering more products.”
  4. Discuss the investment (price) range of the product(s) you’re talking about, and why that range is fair and makes sense relative to what the customer gets in return. For example: The product costs between $A and $B depending on delivery, specifications, terms, timing, and so forth. This price range represents between 10 and 20% of the return on investment (ROI) you’ll receive. In other words, for every dollar you spend with us, you’ll get eight to nine dollars in return. You want to discuss price ranges (rather than specific prices) during pitches in order to ensure you and your customers are at least in the same ballpark on pricing. If not, discovering that key fact early on means that neither side wastes any additional time.
  5. Risks to consider and problems that might occur: No solution or product is without risks or potential problems; it’s much better to bring these up and address them before customers do. Doing this sends the message that you are an honest and straightforward company that wants potential customers to have all the info before making a decision.
  6. FAQs: 5 at most. Your objective is to answer common questions BEFORE the customer asks them; this sets minds at ease.
  7. Tell the prospect (in a polite way) what you need from them to continue the process. What’s the next action they need to take (develop specs, get budget approved, place PO, etc.)? Whatever it is, the next action should be clear, and the prospect should own it.
  8. Closing remarks. These may be brief or more extensive, depending on the situation, but they should always include thanking your prospects for their time—sincerely.

8-Week Marketing Troubleshoot and Tuneup

Do you feel like you’re shooting in the dark when it comes to your marketing, never quite sure what’s working and what’s not? If so, I’ve got a new program designed just for you.

During the 8-Week Marketing Troubleshoot and Tuneup, I’ll take a close look at what you’re doing now, and give you detailed recommendations for improving in the following areas (one per week):

Value Propositions

What are you really selling? Believe it or not, it’s not actually your product or service. You’re selling a solution to your customer’s problems, which is worth a whole lot more. Learn how to present your company, products and services as clearly different and better than what your competitors are offering and create a desire to buy from you.

Proof

These are the case studies and data you use to prove your claims and performance. If they’re not sufficiently compelling, they can actually drive customers away. Learn what works and what doesn’t.

Pitches

You may have the best product or service in the world, but you need to catch the attention of customers and prospects first. I’ll also explain how to field common questions and objections, honestly and effectively.

Pricing

Here’s where the rubber really hits the road: Your pricing is the single biggest factor in determining your profitability. And I’m willing to bet you’re charging too little—most of my clients are. I’ll explain how to hit the sweet spot of finding a profitable price that your customers are willing to pay.

Presentations

It’s not about the graphics or animations you use. I’ll explain the elements of a compelling presentation, and why they’re far simpler than you may think. We’ll talk about how to choose the information you present to customers, the sequence of the presentation, and the slides and materials you use to do it.

Website

Is your website pulling its marketing weight? A few simple changes can make a big difference to the clarity of your messaging, the ease of navigation, and the desire of casual browsers to find out more about what you offer.

Blogs and Newsletters

You may not think of yourself as being in the publishing business, but generating regular, engaging content about what you do and what you offer can be a game-changer. And don’t worry—it doesn’t need to be overly time-consuming or intimidating (even if you’re not a writer).

Sales Collateral

I’ll take a close look at the tools you give your sales force, manufacturers’ representatives, and distributors that help them sell your products and prices, including brochures, ROI calculators, and more.

We’ll talk for an hour every other week about how to improve your results, and at the end of the program, I’ll give you a detailed 5- to 10-page written report with my findings and recommendations. In addition to improving your current offerings, it will act as a blueprint for the success of your future products, services, and campaigns.

For this program to be effective, you have to be willing to share the following information with me:

  • The unique value you offer to your customers
  • Case studies and data
  • Sales pitches
  • Pricing information
  • Presentations
  • Blogs and newsletters
  • Sales collateral
  • History and backstory: how you got where you are, and what you’d like to accomplish with your marketing efforts
  • Anything else that may be relevant to your particular offerings

If you’re worried about confidentiality, please don’t be. I sign an NDA with all of my clients and will protect your information just as I protect theirs.

Pricing

The price is $4,995.

Guarantee

If you’re not satisfied with our progress at the end of Week Two, I’ll promptly refund 100% of your money—no questions asked and no strings attached.

Space Is Limited

In order for me to be able to devote sufficient time and attention to each of the program participants, I’m limiting this program to just five companies at a time, on a first-come, first-served basis. Subsequent participants will be added to a waitlist and informed when a spot becomes available.

How To Get Started

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this unique opportunity to improve your marketing once and for all, just email me or give me a call at 650-862-0688. I’ll send you an invoice, and once payment is received we’ll get started right away.

I look forward to working with you on improving your marketing.

Sincerely,

Don Maher

President, Red Chasm

New Webinar & Coaching Program: Mastering the Value Pricing and Selling Process

How much more profit could you earn if you were able to price your products more effectively, and then capture those prices in the market with real customers and against real competitors?

Starting on October 16th, I’ll be running a webinar and coaching program designed to give you the tools to:

  1. Price products and services based on their real value to customers.
  2. Communicate value more effectively through your presentations, website, and sales collateral.
  3. Sell value so customers clearly understand the advantages of buying from you, and why your prices make sense relative to the value you provide.
  4. Capture your fair share of value in the form of higher prices, by negotiating better agreements with today’s professional buyers.
  5. Continuously manage and improve your value, pricing and profitability over time.

Registration for Mastering the Value Pricing and Selling Process opens at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on Wednesday, September 17th. Space is limited to 20 participants.

Program details can be found by downloading this PDF brochure.

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