Tis the Season

I’m in an industry where the end of year is go-time. A majority of our clients like to start with us on 1/1 so there has been a lot of closing activity around the office! Its motivating and nerve racking. And for the second time in two weeks, I made a sale! so let me break it on down:

This one was another unusual one, Im beginning to think none of them fit the mold they have you role play in the training videos!

As Ive said before we are a premium service provider, and when the customer let me in the door to be competitive, I was happy for the opportunity and the activity, but not very optimistic for the sale. This is a prospect I found canvassing, driving around my territory and working up the courage to go holla at the receptionist. Not my favorite activity but beats dialing for dollars on a nice day. There wasn’t a receptionist but it seemed like a decent sized company so I looked it up back in the office. Turns out they were a former client of ours who left for a primary competitor 6 years ago when they were able to save them $100k. After a few attempts, I got ahold of the listed contact the CFO, and he brushed me off but said I could keep in touch. I didn’t do anything fancy to build value, just pinged him quarterly to see when I could catch him interested. This time, when I reached out to him in August, he was ready to let us “re-compete” for the business. My manager and I had our discovery call with him and did our best to remind him of how much more awesome we were than our competitor. He didnt expose any pain points, and reiterated that he’s only interested in saving money, even though he vaguely remembered us being awesome! He suggested that if we could save him 20 – 50k he’d seriously consider a migration. Given our premium price reputation I wasn’t hugely excited about the opportunity. If we can’t find a reason other than price to add value, they never sign with us, and as Ive said before, we aren’t the cheapest in town. So after getting our pricing back from corporate, my manager and I decided to get as aggressive as we could to try to have a shot, and as the numbers worked out, with some approval up the totem pole, we were able to present a 40k savings!

The proposal came a couple weeks later and we were very excited to be able to present a savings, and the prospects (CFO and controller) seemed pleasantly surprised as well. Corporate has an early start incentive to try to help our implementation team spread out the work, and this incentive represented about 10% of the savings. This came in to play later because they forgot about the early start contingency. We didn’t really have to hound him, the CFO was diligent about asking clarifying questions on certain aspects of our pricing, which is a good sign. He played a little poker in telling us that our competitor was trying to match our offer (right after we offered to get management to approve any concessions to end the month) and he called our bluff and waited until the next day, when we came back with a slightly better offer and made up for the contingency. That seemed to have sealed the deal. It did cost me a G in commission, but Im glad to have won the business. a thousand less is better than 0! Its my largest volume sale to date and while not the most profitable, helps me and my team hit our overall number.

Im hoping that there are really some unidentified areas to add value, otherwise I may fear that they will be leaving us when someone else drops their pants. Only time will tell!

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