Know that you are continuously in sales cycles throughout project life cycles. Be not a victim of lost sales or opportunities. Embrace the sales process as the means to secure necessary commitments in a genuine manner worthy of a complete project manager.
The classic sales approach, applicable to almost any environment, is to cover features, benefits, and advantages, as depicted in the picture. Seek compelling wording and arguments.
If you know not what the customer, team member, or sponsor most cares about, you may need to describe all features of your product, project, or solution. A better approach is to ask questions, listen, and then focus on what the other party truly cares about. Provide details, a prototype, or a demonstration so that person clearly understands what the key features of your proposal are. “This Project Management Office (PMO) addresses a key deficiency in the organization by providing a complete document management and retrieval system. Let me show you how it works….”
Describe the benefits that accrue after these features are implemented, “This system relieves in-field consultants from time-consuming, low value-added activities, provides increased quality assurance within the project delivery process through access to most up-to-date documents, and serves as a breeding ground for knowledge sharing.”
Project how these benefits provide a competitive advantage for the organization, “Implementing this system means our customers will be served by the latest technology with error free documentation, leading to more repeat business, and field consultants can spend more time addressing both existing and new customer requirements and turning them into sales.”
Steps in the selling process include:
- Use management-speak (when speaking to upper managers)
- Clearly identify problem
- Present compelling argument how features will produce benefits
- Cover the advantages of this approach
- Prompt and listen for feedback
- Close and get the order
Follow a selling process that facilitates relationship building with buyers. Be dedicated to serve others and present to
them what they really need. Probe for issues through carefully crafted, open-ended questions. As Alfonso Bucero is fond of saying, “If you don’t believe in your project you will not be able to sell it.” All professionals, and most everyone for that matter, can advance their cause and their careers by recognizing the need for and developing sales skills.
Randy Englund, Englund Project Management Consultancy, www.englundpmc.com