Article 10 – Get the Next Contract With Your New Favorite Enterprise Customer

Can you use a little planning to get the next contract with almost no fuss? Can you get it from the customer you would rather do business with?

Lets look at setting yourself up for the next contract. Following the process, so far, you have:
1.    Let the customer define the problem that he or she wants to solve with your help,
2.    Made sure that it was one the few really critical problems with which he or she deals, and
3.    Let the customer be a part of designing you into the solution, as they take ownership of making it work.
This produces a solution that is likely to happen quickly and will have enthusiastic support from your customer. It gives you an easy close. Then you get to deliver.

We'll assume that you deliver exactly what you promised and with no surprises from you. Then what?

Getting the Next Contract

If you have a customer who trusts you with their top problems, and you have just helped them resolve one, they will want your resourceful help again.

In the design session {{Sales and Service Excellence XX/YY/ZZ and XX/YY/ZZ}} you asked the stakeholders to set the success criteria for the project. Now, as soon as you have delivered, go to each stakeholder and ask two questions:
1 - "Did we meet the success criteria we all agreed to?"
2 - "What are the next two problems that keep you up at night?"

This is a hard question for many of us to ask. After all, what if the stakeholder says no? What if the stakeholder wants to change the success criteria? What if the stakeholder will not talk to you?

The reason that it works is that you did two things of real importance. One is that you got them to choose a problem that really matters to them. The other is that you asked the stakeholder, in front of his or her peers, to commit to the solution to that problem and to the success criteria the group set. Important problems matter and if a person is working on something that matters to them, they are not likely to play games with it. Nor are they likely to blow it off.

Instead, they are probably going to want to meet with you to discuss this. And, since they were part of the solution, they will probably be honest about whether they met the key success criteria. Everyone likes to celebrate success. Getting people to answer the first question turns out to be much less painful that you might expect.

Once you have that, you have a person who matters and agrees that you made good things happen. You have just helped solve one of the most important problems they face.

So, ask what the next two most important problems are. Then start the cycle again, doing the survey and the design session from scratch.

In this way you can choose the customers you like and stick with them, helping them improve their businesses as you build yours. Since you only deal with critical issues, they will continue to pay you what you are worth, and give you the respect you deserve.

You have an enterprise sales cycle that closes quickly at high margins. You can repeat it as you see fit. Congratulations! What else would you want?