By Scott Levy
The number of ways we can communicate as well as the number of vendors that provide those services have never been greater. Rather than continuing to beat up service providers for better rates every two or three years, it's time to elevate the buying-selling process to a new level wherein telecommunications is a strategic asset used to drive business growth and revenue.
I introduced the topic of strategic versus tactical approaches to selling telecommunications services in a previous article, "Driving Results Beyond the Telecom Audit," but in this article, I want to give you more information about how to do it and why, by comparing strategic and tactical sales conversations as well as the differences in the outcomes. First, let's look at an example of a tactical sales conversation.
The Tactical Sales Conversation
Agent: John, how many locations do you have?"
Agent: What is the current spend for those locations?
Agent: How satisfied are you with your current vendor?
Customer: Not at all.
Agent: What are some of your biggest concerns?
Customer: Saving money.
Agent: When do your contracts expire with your current carriers?
Customer: The end of the year.
Agent: If I could help you save money and provide you better quality of service, would you be interested?
Customer: Sure. What is your price?
Agent: Well, I need to get a bit more information from you, but then can get you a proposal. Would that work?
Customer: Sure. Send me a proposal and we will take a look.
Most likely this tactical conversation or some variation of it is very familiar to you. You gather very basic information — none of it related to corporate initiatives — and you provide a proposal for basic, commoditized services. In many cases when the prospect wants pricing, the deal evaporates and the prospect no longer takes your phone calls. Now, let's take a look at a very different, strategic approach.