Subject: Re: [lord@regexps.com: Re: [lord@regexps.com: Re: arch advocates]]
From: "Benjamin J. Tilly " <ben_tilly@operamail.com>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 20:13:13 +0500

"Brian J. Fox" <bfox@ua.com> wrote:
[...]
> Interestingly enough, you might be able to sell arch to the same
> people that you have been talking to, if you simply start talking
> their language.  And their language isn't about technical excellence,
> it is about fewer heads, and bigger ROI.
[...]

Anecdote from a successful sales call a few months ago.  Sales people
show up to give a demo of a research tool.  They spend an hour leading
the analysts through how you use the system, and how things that you
used to have to look all over for and correlate by hand were available
on the next link.  Then the senior analyst turns to the junior one and
says, "Sorry.  It looks like you'll be needing a new job."

It isn't usually said that bluntly, but if potential customers aren't
thinking like that, then they won't become real customers.  (Companies
usually  try to move people around inside the company or shuffle
responsibilities instead of firing them.  But with the current economy,
firing is an option.)

Ask yourself why a company is going to invest time and money into
figuring out how to make arch work in their processes.  Is it because it
can do some gee whiz things that their current one doesn't?  Nope.
They don't use all the features of their current solution, what do they
need with more features that they aren't using?  They will invest
because it saves them time and money.

Customers want to see that you have a pretty good idea of what their
workflow looks like for version control, and have made that better.
They want to see use cases - things that they can quickly see that they
do and understand why your way is faster.  And they want you to get
directly to that point, or else they will implement the workflow
efficiency technique of getting you out the door ASAP and moving on to
something useful.

This in addition to the usual sales stuff like making the customer think
that you understand and appreciate them.  For instance a trick of my
grandfather's (who was the t in http://www.cmtengr.com/) was to lay his
hands on anything he could resembling a company directory, marketing
materials, etc with names and (very important if you can) pictures.  If
he could not do this before visiting a company the first time, he made a
point of asking for it then so that he had it for the second.

Before visiting the company he would look at these and memorize names
and faces.  When he walked in he would then address everyone he could by
name, including the secretaries.  Actually secretaries were a
particularly high priority for him because he knew how much hidden
influence they have, and they respond well to attention because most
people treat them as furniture.

Does this sound like a stupid bit of effort?  He didn't think so.  He
thought that details like that won him a lot of difficult contracts.
Contracts which lead to his company becoming the largest civil
engineering firm in central Illinois when he retired.  Not bad for a
half-Indian born into poverty in a very racist day and age...

Cheers,
Ben

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