As Jeffrey Gitomer puts it, sales is about “creating an atmosphere in which people want to buy”. This is something I truly believe in. With time, I seem to believe in it more and more.
If this is your first time reading this, it may sound like it’s the same thing. Think about it though – it’s really like the difference between push and pull. The times of pushy salespeople are long gone. I think the only place where they can still be successful is making people commit to buying something over the phone (expensive cookware, all-in-one kitchen appliances or hypoallergenic comforters). The rest of us – we need to practice the pull sale. And I think perhaps it’s not only us in the Translation Management Software space, but it might also be the case for the whole language industry.
It’s all about trust
This is fundamental to selling in any domain, but in an industry where everybody knows everybody, you simply can’t stop building that trust. The way content and workflow, every LSP is a client to some other LSP, at the same time as being the provider a different LSP. Given this, on a certain level, we all compete, but we also cooperate on many more levels. The interdependence of all the stakeholders in a project is a fact. Your reputation with your client is actually driven by the reputation that your provider has in your organization. If you need to subcontract work for a language you have no proficiency in in-house, you trust the provider that they know what they’re doing and that they will deliver a good result. It’s only natural that you would ask them for advice when choosing a Project Management Platform.
Building trust takes time and never stops. You can have a contract in place, but if you fail to deliver quality, trust alone will not help you to get out of trouble. However, what’s often overlooked, is that trust goes both ways. And I don’t mean a situation where the client trusts you to deliver as agreed and you trust them to pay you as agreed. This starts earlier than you think and goes far beyond the above.
At XTRF we have plenty of options for a potential client to test our software. You can choose between a no-questions-asked free trial or a dedicated test instance. We can also do a Proof of Concept pilot phase which is almost like an actual implementation, only with limited scope. Each of these options varies in the amount of involvement required – from us and from the client. The more serious you are, the more information you are willing to share, and this makes the testing experience more productive. We also do our utmost to ensure that whatever decision you make after your testing phase, it’s an informed one.
It’s also about time
We believe in always being helpful. When you come to us saying you want to test our platform, we will suggest a way that we believe will be the most beneficial. If you have big plans for the test phase, that’s great – you’ve come to the right place! However, if you plan it in your busiest period, chances are we won’t make it within the deadline.
We used to have 30-day trial instances. The reality was, people would set them up and forget about them completely. Actual testing would only take place in the evening just before the instance would expire, or better yet – during a weekend just before the expiration date. Ever since we shortened it to 14 days, we have seen greater involvement. Because, let’s be clear, if you don’t value our time in the sales process, you won’t value our time during deployment either. Testing that lasts months instead of days, with little or no actual involvement is often a sign of an ever-extending deployment. That’s when stakeholders begin to lose their motivation, and eventually, lose sight of why they considered implementation in the first place.
But most importantly, it’s about…
Sales is not about taking advantage of people. Sales is about helping people. When you adopt this attitude, it’s easy to like your job. However, at times, you come across people wanting to take advantage of you. We’re lucky if we can spot them early on in the process, but we don’t always.
We believe in the lifetime value of a client. When you’re a SaaS company, you kind of have to, right? But when someone tells you straight up “I don’t want to talk to sales. Salespeople are stupid and I need someone who can answer my questions”, then you know what kind of value they will bring. Not just to you, the salesperson, but to the Deployment Team, the Tech Support Team, to the whole company – throughout the lifetime.
When helping, we look past the number of users. We treat everyone with respect, regardless of whether they’re a one-person startup agency or a 100+ license global company. We talk to people, not companies, and we want to keep enjoying that very act of conversation. Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.