Buyer's Journey

New Video: The Ultimate Guide to Selling Third Party Maintenance (Part 2)

Last month we told you about the new video from CRN where they interviewed our president, Ken Peck, about the second edition of his book “Selling 3rd Party Maintenance, The Ultimate Guide”. We focused on the important aspects of the selling side of the equation…. what things are important to you in preparing for the sale and making a good proposal that will win business for you?

Here, as we review the rest of the video, we will focus on The Buyer’s Journey. What are the steps and influencers that affect how the potential client views TPM? How can you be better prepared and make the best proposal that will demonstrate you understand what the Buyer is going through?

The Flip Side of the Sales Process-The Buyer’s Journey


While you may be working hard to develop the best, low-cost proposal to win the business, if you don’t appreciate the other side in this equation, the Buyer, it will be much more difficult to consistently win business. What’s going on in the Buyer’s mind?

In the book, we showed the following chart to help you visualize what’s going on with the Buyer.

So, first of all, the Buyer will start to recognize that they have a need or feel some pain from the current provider relationship. Perhaps this will come from a sales call or internet search or attending a trade show. In any event, to be in the game you have to have the market presence that ensures you will come to mind as they start to think about who can help us solve this problem?

Now we’re at the point of comparison shopping. Some times you may have the luxury of being the only TPM in the game but most likely there will be 3 to 5 competitors. You will now deliver a proposal along the lines of what we discussed in the previous article.

Just remember a couple key points. First, they will have 2 main questions:

  1. Can you save me money?
  2. Can you do what you say you will do? (Perform)

In effect, both of these drivers really get at the most important takeaway:

End-users just want to save money. And, they don’t want to be tied to the OEMs.

Ken noted that the salesperson will really have to answer these two important questions:

  1. Can you save us money?
  2. Can you really do what you’re promising?


Remember that the most important thing you need to give a winning proposal is at least some form of asset list. This will be the starting point for demonstrating the money you can save them.


OEM Will Constantly Try to Sow Seeds of Doubt


You probably realize that the OEM will do anything they can to keep the business you are trying to win. One of their main tools is to raise a question Ken calls “the million-dollar question”. It will go something like this:

If we move our maintenance services away from the OEM, isn’t the risk so great that will jeopardize the enterprise?

Ken states that this is one of the key selling objections he’s been dealing with during his decades in this business and it’s been dubbed FUD: Fear Uncertainty and Doubt.

Ken points out that industry expert from Gartner have stated that this is virtually never the case. Thousands of companies have switched to TPMs to save money and improve service. Virtually never do they return to the OEM.

So, the FUD is just a smokescreen. But be prepared for the question and know that you have the best solution to demonstrate with TPM and the solid proposal we’ll help you put together.


The Hybrid Solution-Best Approach to Winning the Sale


Gartner has endorsed the Hybrid Solution as the way to construct TPM services and it’s the approach we’ve evolved ourselves over the years. What is the Hybrid Solution?

Check out our infographic which depicts the Hybrid Solution:

This approach says that during early years of asset life, the maintenance will stay with the OEM. This is the time when most software bugs will occur and also when the OEMs are improving the devices. However, after the first few years, most equipment can gravitate to TPM and by the 5th or 6th year there is really no benefit to expensive OEM maintenance. Frankly, by that time the OEM has kind of lost interest because they’re trying to sell newer equipment.

The Hybrid Approach demonstrates to the end user that you understand the lifecycle of their assets and also that you have a risk averse solution to their long-term maintenance needs.


Are There Insider Secrets to Making the Sale?


The answer is “yes” and “no”. Ken points out that all salesman like to have that silver bullet that they can shoot to win the business. It’s not that easy.

But Ken says you need to have a plan to bring real prospects, understand their needs, generate a proposal that saves money while demonstrating quality service and a process to close the sale. We talked about this quite a bit in the last article about this video.

And, we want to point out that there is one more approach to making the close that we recommend. It’s called PAS, which means Problem-Agitate-Solve. In the book we have a list of questions which you can adapt for your situation. They will help you and the prospect better understand what their real needs (problems) are. Then you will help to agitate the situation by asking good leading questions. Finally, you’ll show that you have the perfect solution tailored to their situation.

We suggest you review the list of questions and consider them in your next sales effort.

As a nugget, Ken talked about one key question he always likes to ask:

  • What conditions or solutions would you need to move forward with working together for your maintenance needs?

Our team has worked with partners on hundreds of opportunities with prospects. Our rate of winning has fueled our growth and helped our partners expand their offerings. Know that we are willing to help you win new business. After all, Ken wrote the book on it. So let us work with you!


Summary of Takeaways:

  1. The other side of the sales process is the Buyer’s Journey. Here we’ve helped you understand where they are coming from.
  2. This understanding will allow you to make better proposals and close more business.
  3. The OEMs are always trying to make it seem like the sky is falling if companies move away from their maintenance. It’s almost never true.
  4. The Hybrid Approach demonstrates a risk-averse solution that will give prospects comfort.
  5. Smart 3rd Party has tools, sales questions and planning that can we can partner with you so we all win more TPM business.


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