What Steps Can Your Prospective Client Expect

Back in the day, as a cubrep my most trusted learning came from process.

Not tabs that you fill-in on a sales reporting system. Nor various triggers, gateways or activities as stipulated by some training guru.

More about what I now term your winning pattern.

That sustainable, repeatable, successful number of boxes that when you tick, practically guarantee you win the business. They could be actions, traits or connections. Yet crucially are unique to you for your prospect.

In my early years, an outside trainer handed my team a long 1st Meeting Letter template. The kind sent after that vital initial sit-down with a prospect. A forum used to kick-off your and their project together. With foundational elements of ‘discovery’ built-in.

I noticed quickly how I became the only person in the office to actually use it.

Possibly because it took a lot of work to tailor for each new deal.

Or maybe as I was the youngest, least set-in-my-ways, and so more open than all my older colleagues to try such approach.

The letter’s climax was normally a fifth page filled with a timeline.

What should be happening at each specific date, unfolding chronologically.

I soon became impressed by how prospects embraced and followed such proposed, formal-ish, timetable.

Inescapable was the realisation that when they did – and I did not later qualify out – I virtually always signed them up.

I come across many a swish, proud and enticing website extolling a supplier’s virtues. On some (not all) you find detailed for future prospects their own ‘process’. Here’s one recent example;

  1. Meet
  2. Agree
  3. Go
  4. Build
  5. Grow

It happens to be from a “software design and development consultancy”. But could be any solution provider really. Provided no (shamelessly) free pre-work is an option.

You’ve clearly got to be a touch careful with this kind of thing.

To divulge key IP from your winning way of doing things would be worse than clumsy.

As long as expectations are set and you leave a little ambiguity, then at least prospects know there are steps to climb.

A generic alternative could be;

  1. Scope
  2. Validate
  3. Move
  4. Deliver
  5. Achieve

The point is less about what the stages mean, more about the quid pro quo partnership that must develop.

You can remix for your own five-part plan.

Something like Legacy for instance at the end may show how everyone long in your userbase is creaming it.

Your stage of Sign, Commit, Order, even Pay can be softened as above. And should still have two steps following.

You could even expand. Depending from where you think your true edge heralds. Although this could bring risk. From over-complication or competitor alert.

Still, if nothing else, it shows your potential future customer that you don’t simply rock up and wing it. Which alas, too many vendors remain welded to.

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