Before Your Company Purchases Technology, Make Sure You Are Working with a Trusted Advisor, not a Salesman! by Joseph Miller
In today’s business climate, decisions to invest in technology should not be made lightly. Every dollar spent needs to be scrutinized because the company will live with that investment for the next three to five years. If the technology is replaced earlier than that, guess what? It was probably a bad investment. These bad investments can be made in the wrong technology, from the wrong manufacturer, with the wrong software, that provides the wrong customer experience. That is why intelligent organizations need to make their investments with ‘trusted advisors’, and not sales people.
The trusted advisor is a commission motivated beast, just like a salesman, however the trusted advisor will establish several things before he or she will provide a proposal or ask for the sale. Number one, the trusted advisor will establish a relationship. In order to sell to people, you need to understand them. What is their motivation? What is their decision making process? How will this decision impact their company and them professionally? A trusted advisor will build a foundation for a relationship that will carry on beyond this first opportunity.
Second, the trusted advisor will listen before they start their “pitch”. What problem needs to be solved? How does this impact their business? Are there budget constraints? A professional sales executive should be doing more listening than talking, so they have a clear understanding of the real needs of the organization. If you are hearing product names and prices early in the process, show the sales person the door. They are not interested in your company, just the sale.
Finally, a trusted advisor will build credibility and become your consultant, minus the consulting fee! This is done by confirming each need identified earlier, and showing how and why their recommendation makes sense, and cost justifying the solution. They will give you examples of how they have been successful in the past, solving similar problems and how their company has a documented track record for you to reference. They are also not afraid to disagree with your idea or design, even if it means they might lose a sale! It is more important for a project be successful, than it is to earn commission on a flawed solution. The trusted advisor will earn a seat at the table so they have an opportunity to be involved in all the opportunities with your company, not just the first one.