Step 1: Overview
Step 3 is when you really begin to have fun. You get to meet with your best customers and ask them non-threatening question and get into their head. You get to find out what makes them tick when it comes to running their business.
When you learn what drives your customer, you also learn what he wants in order to purchase a document imaging system.
Step 2: The meeting
When you go to the meeting, you will say something along these lines.
Hi Mr. Client,
(Then shut up, listen, and take notes)
I first want to thank you for meeting with me today especially when there is nothing in it for you and I get all the benefits of your business wisdom.
What I would like to ask you is to give me your candid thoughts on a business opportunity I am considering. And, it would also be helpful if I could get a better understanding of what is important to you as a successful businessman.
The product line that I'm considering is a document imaging system that is selling for $200 a month on a month-to-month lease. There is no time commitment or penalties if or when a customer discontinues the lease. This program will typically save a business 15%-25% of an office person's time and significantly improve customer service because you can answer most customers' questions on the first call without having to put them on hold.
First it would be really helpful if you could give me a little background of how you got started in this business and what some of your business goals are for the next couple of years. If you don't mind sharing these with me.
You should only ask him questions. Keep him talking and get a good feel for what makes him tick.
After you spend 5-10 minutes getting his background and goals for the future, you will want to turn the discussion to his thoughts on document imaging.
Have you ever considered document imaging for your organization and what are your thoughts on such a program?
(Then shut up, listen, and take notes. The prospect will tell you what he thinks and what it needs to do for him to buy.)
If you need to keep the discussion going, keep it focused around the benefits of a document imaging system:
You may need to tell him who else is using the software and what it costs to purchase it outright.
Better customer service
Your purpose of this meeting is to learn what he thinks and to schedule a follow up meeting to demo the software. Do not demo the software at this meeting. Your customer will think that he is being duped if you were to demo the software at this meeting. Always reschedule for another time.
Always leave the meeting by thanking him for his time and tell him that you will get back to him and let him know what you have decided.
Step 3: Questions that you might ask to keep the conversation going.
- How did you end up starting this business?
- What would you say was you biggest obstacle along the way?
- What was your thought process to get through that obstacle? Did you seek guidance through a trusted advisor? Did you just figure out the solution by yourself?
- What are some of your goals for your business for this year? Why are these important to you?
- Here is a very pointed question: what would you do if your building was destroyed by a fire, hurricane or tornado, something that you had no control over? Would you simply close your doors or would you keep the business going?
- I ask that question because it ties into one of the reasons a business would want a document imaging system. Have you ever considered document imaging for your organization and what are your thoughts on such a program?
- What would prevent you from buying a document imaging system?
- Are you able to answer most of your customer questions without putting them on hold or telling them that you have to get back to them?
- Is paper even a problem for your company? By this I mean do multiple people need to have access to the same documents? Do you ever hear about the file not being where it belongs and someone spending lots of time looking for it?
- If you could increase efficiencies by 15% - 25% in the office, how would you feel about that?
- What would be the return on investment that you'd require before you'd invest in a document imaging system?
- Why haven't you already purchased a document imaging system?
- How many people need access to customer files?
- How do you feel about technology in your business?
- What do you like and dislike about technology?
Don't be afraid to have some questions prepared before you go into the meeting. Business people like it when you appear prepared and not just flying by the seat of your pants.
The point to remember here is that you want your customer to talk and be candid with you. There shouldn't be any hint of you trying to sell him anything.
If the customer owns a business that has a plant and you've never been through it, ask it they wouldn't mind taking just a few more minutes and show you through the facility. They'll love it and you'll get tons of information about the business that you never knew before. Definitely do this if you've never done it before.