Particularly if you are pursuing opportunities that involve multiple contacts at your client, it will be critical to pay attention to company culture. In talking with Al Curnow – Vice President, High Performing Culture he stated…”your client’s culture can directly impact your selling effort”. Some thoughts on how to be more informed and decide on your selling approach…
Understanding your client’s company culture
First, the info that is easy to find…spend some time doing some homework on their site. Look for news about the company…what kind of image do they try to project? Now the information that may take a bit of work…talk with your “inside coach” at the client and/or your peers at other organizations calling on the client to identify:
- What percentage of the projects they have approved are “maintenance” focused?
- What percentage are “innovation” focused?
- Same questions about IT and other investments
Which clients are likely to spend?
Salespeople, of course, are looking for clients that are interested in investing in solutions they offer. Al summarized it well…”organizations that like to innovate and adapt to market conditions are more likely to invest in new solutions”. This generates some great questions to keep in mind:
- How assertively are your target clients developing new solutions for their customers?
- How have they adapted to changes in their markets?
- What is the potential cost to the prospect’s company if they don’t purchase your product/solution?
What “tone” is leadership at your client setting?
Think about (or find out) how your client makes decisions about investments in solutions. Do they take an “autocratic” or “democratic” approach? How empowered are those that are not in leadership positions to make/influence/contribute to decisions?
Keep the following advice from Al in mind…”the tone set by leadership should tell you a lot about the approach you want to take”.
Work backwards from what you learn
Sometimes what you learn will energize your effort and others it will suggest that a client or a particular opportunity may not be worth pursuing. Either way, investing time in understanding your client’s culture can make your selling effort more effective and efficient.
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