Most of the computer consultants I spoke with had a disdain for the idea of taking a prospect to lunch, paying for a golf outing or giving a gift card away etc…
The feeling that most Techs expressed was that prospects should buy because they have a need or they like the personality of the sales guy not because of spiffs or giveaways.
When you’re watching TV you see plenty of shows where the salesmen are taking prospects golfing or entertaining them at bars or restaurants.
In fact I am pretty sure that every show or movie I have ever seen that centered around a salesperson’s character contained at least one episode where they company was wining and dining their prospect.
However, when you start talking to the average computer consultant they act like this behavior is anathema!
The bizarre thing is that when you attend a major technology trade shows you will quickly discover that all the vendors are out to do what? … wait for it… wine and dine their prospects!
In fact, many of the managed services providers have come to expect free food, beer and giveaways when they attend these trades shows.
I was asked to do the sales along with the telemarketing for a start-up managed services firm in San Antonio and my only condition was that they allow me to put our complete sales process in place.
Of course, one of the major steps in our sales process is wining and dining prospects.
In this market, which I have been told is tough to crack, we closed 4 law firms and 1 non-profit in 5 months with no references etc…
Of the companies that signed up we had provided them many spiffs, gift cards, lunch, golf outings, a day on my boat etc…
In short we showered them with wining and dining!
Perhaps this market is considered so tough because it takes massive wining and dining to prime the pump so that you can steal clients away from their current IT providers.
Ultimately if computer consultants expect to be wined and dined before they sign up with vendors then shouldn’t they realize that this is exactly what many of their prospects will be expecting?
If you are persuaded by this article to start greasing the sales process with wining and dining then just remember that it’s still a numbers game and not every one you offer spiffs too will sign up.
You still have to make a great presentation, offer amazing services and build rapport to close the deal.