Yesterday the engine light of my car lit up and the transmission sputtered. I was mobile but with issues, and unaware of the cause and cost. I left it with my favorite technicians who, along with my warranty, are on the case with multiple people and machines assessing the situation. In the past, addressing such an issue didn’t use to be so smooth. I would use a trusted lone mechanic who often needed a hit-and-miss approach to finding the solution. Today, my car has diagnostic warnings and a team of technicians waiting to address its issues. Great attention!
What if this service approach was the way we approached complex sales?
I’m in the sales development business and work predominantly with clients that operate in the ‘lone mechanic’ mode. Salespeople are sent on heroic individual forays into their territory. Armed with manager oversight, support lifelines, and personal ingenuity, the salesperson is often on their own to navigate the sales funnel to the pot of gold. It can work for transactional sales, but the more complex the sale the more hit-and-miss the solutions can be. Client satisfaction hangs in the balance.
Enter the ‘Firehouse Approach’. What if your sales model came equipped with as many as 5 sets of eyes and ears and 5 different views to addressing prospect needs? The ‘Firehouse approach’ has differentiated one of my clients and led to unprecedented year-over-year revenue growth through and since the recession.
When it’s used: My client uses the ‘Firehouse Approach’ when a prospect declares an urgent need or is transitioning from one contract to another and the prospect requires new solutions and services that address complex challenges and requirements.
The ‘Firehouse Approach’ includes:
- As many as 5 salespeople of varied backgrounds form a team that personally visits the prospect.
- The salespeople come from anywhere in the country, leaving their own territories to help the company and the lead salesperson land a client in another.
- The team visits the prospect over a concentrated period of days, taking a 360 degree view of the prospects operation and facilities by visiting with all relevant players.
- The visit ends with a comprehensive report & multi-year proposal relevant to the prospect.
Value to the prospect: The ‘Firehouse’ provides a 360 degree approach that pulls relevant players and voices into a solution package that limits future issues; it generates urgency for implementation; it fosters confidence in a solution sourced from a depth of experiences and expertise vs. a single person.
Value to my client:
- Visiting all influencers and decision-makers creates a comprehensive and more lucrative set of solutions.
- The speed to sale is dramatically increased.
- The team learns from each sales event and takes the learning to the next one.
What if you used this approach for your complex sales? If even one of the above three values could be realized in your company, it may be worth a closer look.
In the time it took me to write this post, my car was pronounced ready. They managed a complex issue in two hours that would have taken three days in years past. Value indeed!