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 Post subject: VRPC advocacy problem
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 6:54 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2002 7:08 pm
Posts: 69
Location: Cambridge
I'd like to know if other VRPC users encounter the somewhat frustrating experience I've had (for years)...
I use VRPC almost all day, every day and make extensive use of it. At every opportunity I tell and show people how its so much nicer to use RISC OS but how you can have the best of both worlds with VRPC. The response is almost always "Wow, thats fantastic! I must try this myself. Where can I get it?"
So I give people the VA url and/or arrange further demos, and sometimes I've offered to order a copy of VRPC for them. Then, the response is always, "Oh, ... next week..." (and the next week never comes). Whats the matter with people?
I know this failure on my part to 'close the sale' is the reason I'm an engineer and not a salesman, but I cannot understand, when the prospective customer is so impressed, why they won't take the next step and actually buy a copy!! And its not exactly expensive!

 Post subject: Re: VRPC advocacy problem
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 1:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2002 12:16 pm
Posts: 958
Firstly I need to thanks Mike for his efforts to sell copies of VirtualRPC, it's greatly appreciated. However don't beat yourself up by "failing to close a sale", I very much doubt that this is a reflection on your skills as a salesman. Let me explain...

Broadly speaking there are 3 types of customer:

A "Strong" customer has already made the decision. They have looked at the product and have already decided that it fulfills a need. They will therfore come along and buy it without any extra need for a salesman.

An "undecided" customer is interested in the product, but will probably need convincing that it's money well spent. They will typically ask several questions and may well want to sepak to others who use the product, or will want to read reviews. Their interest is genuine, but they won't rush into a decision. Often a special offer will decide the matter for them, or a killer feature that they will find useful. You will probably recognise most people as falling into this group (I certainly do).

The worst sort of customer to extract a sale from is a "weak" customer. They haven't really thought about the product before but are "very interested". Initially they will appear very keen to make a purchase and can be confused with "Strong" customers. However they will then start asking questions, like an "undecided" customer. They will ask lots of questions, as the conversation continues these questions will get increasingly "left field". They will alomost certainly want a demo of the product, the longer the better. However their attention span is short and after a few minutes they may well repeat questions they asked earlier. Whilst they will take up more time then the other two types of customer their sales conversion ratio will be very low. To put it bluntly, they don't buy very much of anything. Sometimes you find that they can't afford the product in the first place.

A really good salesman can recognise these three types in a matter of a few seconds. There is no point spending time "selling" to a "strong" customer, they have already made their mind up. There is no point spending a long time getting dragged into demos with a "weak" customer as they will be mainly wasting your time. They key people who need to have time spent with them are the "undecided" group. That's the real talent of a good salesman, being able to read people.

As an interesting aside you will find all three groups at a RISC OS show. The "Strong" customera arrive early for the show, they queue, then once the show is open they will head directly for the stands where they wish to make a purchase. Having made their purchases early only then will they browse.

"Undecided" customers will arrive later, typically an hour or two after the show opens. They may have a list of companies they want to talk to (a good indicator). They will have made their mind up one way or another by around 2PM.

Later on the "weak" customers will visit, they will ask for long demos, they will say things like "why should I buy it?". They are often influenced more by their peers than by their own needs. They may "want" the product, but not be able to use it "at the moment". At Wakefield I did several VRPC for the Mac demos in the afternoon to people who subsequently said "well, when I buy an Apple..." (note that they will often get product names confused). Of course if you have dealt with all the "real" customers you might as well spend time with a "weak" customer. I always keep an eye out in case an "undecided" customer does arrive late. You can actually lose "real" customers by spending too much time with "weak" ones.

Well, that's my view. I've been in sales in one form or another for over 20 years and have applied this method (as described to me by a senior salesman in BT) since 1990.

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