One of the best business books I have ever read is Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play: Transforming the Buyer/Seller Relationship by Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig.
From the authors’ perspective too often sales people go into a client with a solution without fully understanding the client’s problem or need. For a variety of reasons, clients are often less than transparent in providing information about the problem. This is not a recipe for success for either party.
In the book, the authors advocate an entirely new selling paradigm. The authors strongly believe that trust is the keystone for any successful buyer/seller relationship. On the seller side, trust is built on listening and asking the right questions. Among other things, the authors advocate a process of skilled inquiry where the sales person better understands the client’s problems and values and the client better understands his own situation. The authors emphasize that during pre-sales sales people do the “critical spadework to uncover the issues the solution is supposed to resolve.”
We believe that using Lakeside Software’s SysTrack as early as possible in the sales effort will significantly improve the rigor of analysis and the breath of the inquiry process. The information gathered can then be used to provoke a rich, focused series of discussions with the client in a process where both sides work together to derive the best possible solution for the problem.
As the authors point out, too often proposals are put forth and solutions are offered based on guessing. We all have seen proposals with multiple pages of assumptions. We’ve also seen vendors run into major problems because they were blind to the complexity of what they were trying to solve or significantly underscoped the problem.
The authors believe that a key component of getting real is eliminating the reliance on guessing: “Let’s not guess what problems clients are trying to solve and/or what results they want to achieve. Let’s not guess about how those problems are defined and how we would recognize when the results are achieved.”
According to the authors, what we want to do is make the undiscussable discussable, and get “the underground above-ground so that the unmanageable can become manageable.”
This is what Lakeside Software is all about. Our goal is to provide high-quality insightful data to solve previously unsolvable problems. You can’t propose, design, build and run what you can’t see and you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Our role is to help you see and measure from pre-sales through the entire life-cycle process of any workplace solution. Our role is to provide the data and the information that will allow the seller and the buyer to communicate clearly with one another using the same language. Our role is to facilitate an alignment in the seller buyer relationship that will lead to mutual success.
Ray Ross is a global SI director for Lakeside.