Some companies like to show up in your office, wind up their demo system like a little whirligig and ask you to sit back and watch all the screens flash and beep. “This is how it works!!! Isn’t that fantastic? Now, just sign here. Press hard because there are five copies.” In fact, this approach is so ingrained into the sales culture that it is pretty much what Registrars expect when vendors come calling. I have even met with Registrars who, upon shaking my hand for the first time, promptly declare, “OK. Show me what you’ve got.” And what’s my stock response? “No.”
Wouldn’t it be presumptuous of me to simply launch into a presentation or product demo without even knowing what you hope to gain from the meeting? I want to know what your problems or issues are with your current process. I want to know what budgetary or resource constraints you are operating under. How many transcripts do you produce and what is your cost structure? I want to confirm any assumptions I have relative to seasonality in your business. Give me a sense of how you distribute work in the office. I want to know how money is handled by your institution. I want to learn about all of your quality control measures and technical environment. How much have your SIS and documents been customized? What are your “hold” policies? I want to know your dreams and vision for the services you provide, as well as how you see your office’s goals and objectives evolve. Most importantly, I want to know what your institution would consider outstanding performance.
These questions and answers are the essence of consultative selling. By asking a lot of questions and discussing the answers, I am able to focus on what is important to you. Everything else becomes somewhat secondary. We’ll definitely get around to those details, but by not launching straight into a presentation that tells you how great we are, I avoid the risk of wasting your valuable time and missing your pain points. This is why we prefer meeting on campus because the face-to-face contact provides the foundation for a productive and mutually beneficial relationship. It may surprise you, but we usually never get around to the system demo during the first meeting on campus. But that is ok because by the time we get around to providing a demo and submitting a proposal, we are darn sure that what we submit to you is the right solution that we will actually deliver in a reasonable timeframe. Isn’t that the most important thing? Getting it right the first time around.
So, if you are planning on visiting with a Credentials Solutions Sales Consultant, be prepared for a somewhat different meeting. Chances are pretty good that we will ask more questions than you do. And that is a good thing.