Although someone may think that selling skills are far from duties of IT consultant, I believe, on contrary, it is a core skill for successful one. However, the degree and depth of utilization depend on the role of the IT consultant either a developer, designer, architect, project manager, engagement manager, etc.
In every day, IT consultants are creating and developing proposals. Those proposals could be solutions, new design, new way of coding, new architecture, etc. Each proposal aims to convince your audience with your deliverables. Actually this is a selling process!
How far you are skillful in selling your ideas, determines how far you could achieve success in your job. In this post, I will try to lay out some sales skills and principles that could help anyone and specially IT consultants in their achievements. In this post, your audience could be your customer, manager, employer, colleague, etc.
Search for a Value
Do not rely only upon your technical knowledge. You need to utilize this knowledge to fulfill your audience needs, show perspective, and add value. Instead of talking about features, you need to search for a value that could be interpreted from audience perspective such as cost reduction, time saving, increased quality, etc. This will make your argument more sounding.
If you want to SELL an idea, the first advise would be DO NOT SELL. Instead show value sincerely.
Create a Dialogue and Build Rapport
You need to follow a customer-centric approach where you listen as well as you talk. You need to build a consultive personality and to be a trusted advisor for your audience (customer). Listening and educating yourself about your audience is a crucial skill. You need to build a rapport with your audience.
An example for a conversation opening that builds a rapport and sets a purpose of the dialogue. “Samy, I know how important this project for you and for the organization (1). I appreciate your valuable effort you put into this initiative (2). Building a corporate portal is a challenging job (3). I’d like to learn more about your project (4). I have some ideas regarding this project that could leverage its benefits such as …(5)”.
Statements (1), (2), (3) are directed into rapport and building relationship. Statement (4) is preparing for your proposal. Statement (5) is the value proposal. Do not jump directly to the value proposition without building rapport in order to have a smooth introduction.
Effective listening enables you to show interest, connect with your audience, and gain full understanding of audience requirements. It is very important to notice voice tones, body language, and emphasis. Listen with your eyes as well as your ears. You need to maintain good eye contact with your audience (do not look downside during conversation).
Check for Audience Feedback
This is one of critical skills that you need to sharpen. Take care that silence does not mean audience agreement. Feedback provides you a chance to refine your message. Ask explicitly for audience opinion.
Do not Negotiate too Early
Do not be hurry to start getting into negotiation for applying your proposal until you make sure that you understood audience requirements. If an audience makes demand, you need to go beyond this demand to understand the need. Please remain consultive and do not go into adversary trap with your audience otherwise this will distract your messages.
I hope this would help.
- Listening Skills in Business (thinkup.waldenu.edu)