I hope the year ends on an upswing or at least at or above projections. While all of you are busy trying to close deals this month, you undoubtedly will have reps wondering how to stay busy while deals slip or (better) while waiting for the good news to come on an opportunity. I have often found that December is the hardest month for business development since the seasonal theme is more about wrapping things up and winding things down.
So, here’s an idea to keep your reps busy with worthwhile client conversations. Why not have them call customers who bought or implemented this year and see how they are doing? Your customers who are enjoying your offering may be more than wiling to be the basis of a success story. These may turn out to be large “white paper”-like productions or basic CustomerCentric Selling(c)-style conversation tools. Either way, remember people buy from people they trust (See Covey, Stephen). And Trust = Sincerity + Competence. Competence is revealed through our successes. We can only relate our success if we now the background and substance of the success.
So here are 10 questions to get you and your reps started on building success stories. They should not treat this as an interrogation. Rather, use their personal style to make it conversational.
  1. How long ago did you first start using our product/service/technology/product(s)?
  2. What was your challenge or business problem when you first started talking to us?
  3. Did we replace an existing process/technology/product/service you had in place before? If yes, then who?
  4. If you answered ‘yes’ to the previous question, what led you to evaluate other options?
  5. How do we compare to other processes/products/services/products you’ve used in the past, if any? What do you like best?
  6. Who else did you consider when evaluating us, and what influenced your decision to choose us?
  7. How many/which business team(s) use our tools/processes/products/software/services regularly?
  8. What kind of (measureable or intangible) results/gains are you seeing that you didn’t have before?
  9. Please provide us a link to your company Website or a brief paragraph about your company.
  10. Please provide your name and title, as well as any other names/titles of your internal team who was a part of the decision-making process in choosing us.

Happy Holidays!

Adam J. Shapiro