I was invited to make a presentation at a prospective customer that sold capital equipment ($50K-$250K). The prospect was interested in utilizing our unique ability to research and recruit global distributors for their products. It was a typical second call as I was getting kicked up the management ladder. I listened to them discuss their successes in the domestic market, the superiority of their product and brand and their plans to take their business globally. This prospect had at one time built a nice export business, but had fallen on some bad financial times, retrenched, restructured and was looking to revive their brand globally.
As I probed into their sales process there was an interesting discovery made. The supplier stated that without a “factory SME” an overseas order could not be consummated. The technical specifications for their product were detailed and application driven, only a competent engineer was able to “win the day.” The distributor was there "to go along for the ride." Hmmm I thought, a few more questions:
We have all successfully utilized SME’s in the past. They can explain ideas with great depth and clarity. They can interpret the prospect’s business challenges and provide great solutions and alternative product comparisons. SME’s usually reduce the prospect's fears that the product will perform to requirements as well as broaden your company to company relationship. They can do this…if they are prepped for the visit.
A previous blog, http://www.jimthomasintl.com/blog/8-2-tips-for-executives-wanting-to-help-field-sales, dealt with taking execs on the road, but taking an SME on customer visits is a bit different. Using an SME can allow you to build your base of sales champions and influencers at the customers. SME’s are valuable members of your company’s team, but they must be prepared for life in the field and how to apply their expertise properly.
Do you want to have a free fifteen minute discussion on prepping SME's for field visits? Sign up on my web site http://www.jimthomasintl.com/ or contact me directly by phone.