Continuing with my wanting to make Accounts Payable Automation salespeople better, I thought I would start this week’s article with a praise that bugs me to no end – “It Sells Itself”.
“It sells itself” is code for “I would rather not work that hard”. I used to coach a rep that would tell me that if he closed two more deals he was done for the year. That’s an example of not wanting to work too hard. He would typically tell me that in September. Fortunately or unfortunately he would never close both deals. It was ashamed too because he was a decent rep.
There are a few reason that “it sells itself” comes up. (1) If it is a new rep or new to the industry there is a common reaction of how great AP Automation is. It’s true, I love it when the pieces start to fit together and benefits start to form before their eyes. With new reps, “it sells itself” is immediately followed by “no brainer” which is code for my clients are stupid for not being able to see and know what I (the rep) know and see. The second group (2) uses “it sells itself” to put the focus on the software as the central driver of the deal almost as if to set the software up if the deal doesn’t close… you know blame the software. The software is important, but it will not take the place of good selling and salesmanship, and when it comes to AP Automation the key sales point is helping the client justify the change and investment.
The Justification Phase
What I truly believes separates the good from the great in selling AP Automation are the skills around justification. I tell the reps I coach that the determining factor of having an opportunity and not having an opportunity is strictly based on time allocation. That is if the client have the need and use for more time they will automate. If the client doesn’t have a need and use for more time then they won’t automate. In my experience the percentage of yes and no to the need question is small. The largest percentage of potential clients say “I don’t know”. It is pretty easy for a client to know if they need more time, but it’s much more difficult to create a plan to use the time and change the accounting department. That is where the professional AP Automation sales rep comes in.
To the time question if the client says yes or no, you have your direction. If the client says, “I don’t know” then your response is, “Well… would you like some help to find out”. This question not only puts you in a position to better qualify the client to their needs, but it also gives you direction in the sales process.
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