Selling "-abilities": Expandability
This is the last of a four part series on selling ‘abilities’. In the first three articles I covered Reliability, Upgradeability and Compatibility. I now want to turn my attention to the subject of selling Expandability in the high tech sales arena.
Expandability is a term more associated with hardware as opposed to software. If there is a point of convergence for software and expandability it would be on the operating system itself.
For those of you who’ve gone out and purchased a computer, one of the prime determinants of whether or not to buy is how much capacity or memory does the computer have. This is usually followed up with a question on how much can you ‘expand’ the capacity later on down the road if needed.
When selling expandability for hardware products, we are usually referring to the physical limitations of the product itself. Sinc, in order to expand, the system must have available ‘slots’ for system cards. In the case of a computer, we usually want to swap out or add another processing board to increase either system speed or memory capacity.
So how do you sell expandability? Lets take two scenarios, 1) A computer for the average consumer (Small sale), and 2) A Internet Service Provider who is purchasing a telephone switch (Large Sale).
Small Sales Strategy: It isn’t difficult to sell a customer on expandability; especially if the buyer is a person who anticipates their processing or memory storage needs growing in the future. But when it comes to the average consumer who wishes to use the computer for basic internet and family projects, the expandability feature is greatly diminished in its ability to sway a customer’s decision. In a small sales scenario, the key for the salesperson is to identify the technophile from the average consumer. The question, “What are your plans for the computer?” should allow the salesperson to clearly identify if the buyer is an average consumer or a technophile. This template applies for any business model in general. If the buyer is wanted a straight forward, for now solution, expandability will do little to help close a sale. On the other-hand, if the buyer is building out a network or a system and envisions growth, the expandability feature will have some impact in the sales process.
Large Sales Strategy: When selling to a big customer who will be using the product to provide service to others, expandability plays a major role. Most start-up companies are unsure about the size of their customer base or simply have little cash flow and can’t buy a full-blown system. Expandability options allows a provider to buy into a system knowing that expansion is possible and can be done on an incremental basis. In the case of a Internet Service Provider, a chassis with telephone card slots allows the provider to buy only the minimum amount of cards needed to do business. In the case of a data center or a digital storage facility, the providers will only purchase the amount of memory and processing speed cards needed to service their customer. Some finer points for large sales strategies when selling expandability are:
1) Most customers will want to buy 10-20% more in backup cards or boards to hold in stock. This is an additional revenue stream.
2) All expandable systems require a redundant power supply (i.e., backup power supply card). This also adds sales revenue.
Selling expandability starts with identifying who your customers are and their anticipated needs for future growth. Whether it’s a small (computer) or large sale (network switch), the qualifying question is whether or not they anticipate a need for growth in the future. Selling expandability is about selling the optimistic side of business and growth. Those who see potential and growth for the future will be easy sells. Those who are unsure about the future, well…it may not be so easy to sell them on the concept of expandability.
© 2003. Victor Antonio G.. All Rights in All Media Reserved. Victor Antonio G. is a sales trainer and motivational coach.
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