You Don’t Say…
For more than 30 years I was a sales executive, selling strategic solutions. During that time I worked primarily for the same company. So, I had limited exposure to how our solutions compared to others in the marketplace. Today I am a managing partner in the consulting firm Alleon Group. We concentrate mostly on business process optimization, which sometimes includes outsourcing. And, now I have a different perspective on the messaging sales executives provide during the selling process.
Here are some of my favorite cliché lines I hear – many of which I probably used in my past life. And, here is how I respond now that I am on the other side of the table.
- We want to earn your business!
- What Exactly does that mean? Leaving this meeting, what will you do to change the rules of the game such that you can earn my business?
- Let’s start tomorrow!
- Start What?
- There are no hidden costs.
- Are you suggesting that anything not identified in your proposal is free? From now on until we terminate your agreement?
- We have a nearly flawless production model.
- Are you willing to guarantee that with financial penalties?
- Our implementations are seamless!
- How do you define that? Name three clients I can speak with who would use the term “seamless” in describing your implementation. (I ran implementation services for a large company for five years. We never had a seamless implementation.)
- We have the most senior implementation team in the industry.
- So, they are really old. Are they any good?
- You have the highest level of executive support from our company!
- Where are they?
- We are experts! We do this day in and day out.
- Does that mean you do it well? Or, you just do it every day?
- We always save money for our clients.
- How do you quantify that? Willing to go to contract on that point? If ok, I’d like to be the gate keeper who measures the success.
- We are industry experts.
- What industries?
- We can absolutely do that!
- Can you get someone from your technical team to agree to what you just said?
- Nobody else can do what we do.
- Then maybe we don’t need it.
- Ask any of our clients!
- We tried, but you told us you have NDAs with them that prevent such conversations.
The reality is I have a great deal of respect for providers of strategic solutions in the marketplace. Although we ask some tough (and sometimes funny) questions, the goal is to find a partner that can provide a solution to fulfill a need. Partners in the marketplace provide that conduit to ensure businesses can focus on what matters most in growing their revenue while reducing operating costs. Hats off providers!