Understanding finance does not come naturally to everyone. It can be difficult and complex, but when applied effectively can become a useful tool for selling more. As budgets become tighter and buyers become more sophisticated, the IT channel can further develop its selling skills to drive growth and profitability upwards.
It is widely accepted that finance is only used at point of sale in about 30 per cent of deals in the IT sector, compared to about 90 per cent in the document management sector. There are no technical reasons why this should be the case both involve selling complex IT-based solutions to a range of firms.
At a time when finance has never more been widely available, and end users’
knowledge about different finance options is as high as it ever has been, the
reason for this discrepancy lies squarely with the salesperson.
Recently, I asked a reseller friend of mine why she thought this was. She said that it was not a case of “will not sell with finance”, but of “do not know how to sell with finance”. Sales teams were not being given the right training.
Just a few months ago, I read a major study which showed how training can have a major impact on the bottom line. Indeed, 72 per cent of sales managers reported a ‘significant’ impact to their bottom line as a result of sales skills development (Silent Edge, 2007).
Our own research has shown that vendor salespeople who have received training
on how to use finance and leasing as a sales differentiator have within three
months often increased their sales volumes by almost 10 per cent. Ad-hoc
feedback also shows that they are able to decrease their sales lead times.
I often write in this column about the importance of changing people’s mentalities in order to increase your sales. At a time when the channel is looking for new drivers for growth and profit, good training is an opportunity that cannot be ignored.
Who knows, maybe the next time a difficult sale comes about, the training on how to use finance will come in handy and help clinch the killer deal.
Peter Austin is general manager flow business, Siemens Financial Services
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