Ontario Water News

Creating a Client for Life: Interview with Marcia Barnes

Is your Canadian water technology company selling to municipalities or utilities? Here’s your opportunity to attend sales training that is relevant, engaging, and practical.

As part of our new Learning Network Series, WaterTAP is pleased to offer Create a Client for Life, a two-day workshop designed and delivered by M&C Associates. The course will take place June 4-5, 2018, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Mississauga, Ontario.

Marcia Barnes

This sales training program is targeted to water sector sales professionals, including inventors, front line sales managers, sales operations, and sales leadership. This course will provide participants with interactive training that covers the full sales process.

WaterTAP recently spoke with the leader of the sales course, Marcia Barnes from M&C Associates. Much of Barnes’ advice for sales professionals revolves around doing thorough research, being intentional with prospects, and careful planning prior to sales execution.

What is the basis for creating a lifetime client?

“People buy from people,” Barnes says. “As part of the buying cycle, you form a relationship. The purchaser will develop opinions about the seller, based on how they were treated during the process.”

For Barnes, the experience a person has when they make a purchase is critical. “If you feel positive about the experience, it can help you decide whether you will return, recommend, or write a positive review,” she says. “For example, many people may prefer a certain make of car because they have confidence that it will serve them well, but often people will also buy from the same car dealer that has provided them with excellent service in the past.”

Which step is most critical in the selling process?

“The most integral step in making a sale is building trust: You need to demonstrate that what you say is reliable and that you are accountable for promises you make,” Barnes says. “Unfortunately, while it takes a long time to build trust, it can take seconds to destroy it. However, when your client knows that you are a person of your word, then they will give you repeat business, referrals to their colleagues, and a reference.”

What are common mistakes when trying to land a client?

“The biggest mistake water technology companies make when selling is talking too much about their product, rather than understanding the business problem that needs to be solved,” Barnes says. “You don’t buy a drill for its speed, you buy it for the hole it will make.”

“Another common error is connecting with employees who do not have the authority to make a purchase,” she says. “If a salesperson enters discussions at the wrong level, it can be really challenging for them to be connected with management without offending anyone. It will always serve you well to call someone higher in the management chain and be referred down.”

Is there a key difference between strategies and tactics of selling?

“Many people think selling is simply getting in front of a potential customer to talk,” Barnes says. “On the contrary, you need to meet your prospects and learn what keeps them up at night – what we call the ‘hot buttons’ – as these are the business problems you are looking to solve.”

“However, before that first meeting there is a lot of planning to do,” she says. “Simply put, the strategies of selling are the planning involved to ensure you go into the meeting prepared with the right information; the tactics are what you do and say in that meeting.”

For more information about the critical strategies and tactics you need to build your sales track record, register here for the two-day course.

If you require more information about this course or other Learning Network offerings, please contact yvette.byrne-menard@WaterTAPontario.com.