This article originally appeared in the March issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.
If you want to venture down the path of the trusted advisor, then you have to get better at the questions that you ask your prospects.
What would you do if your prospect had a premises PBX (News - Alert) that was out of contract? Her PRI and Internet T1 are with different providers with differing contract terms and separate end dates. She has heard from colleagues that she should be looking at a hosted PBX for her 99-employee company, where 60 employees are mobile or remote and the rest work at the office. The productivity gains and cost savings are making her talk to you. Where do you start?
What question do you ask her to get the ball rolling? How about “What do you like about your current system?” or “What do you not like about your current system?” or “If you could design your own what would it do?” You had better have a notepad and pen at this point because these will be the basis for your proposal.
She may not even know what is possible or what a PBX can or should do. As the advisor, you need a general idea of the features available for PBX systems. A checklist of these features can be carried with you so that you can make suggestions and mark down what she might like.
There are hundreds of providers of hosted and premises PBX solutions. It’s not possible to know everything that is available – or to shop it around to most vendors. You will learn as you gain experience, but if you know the highlights that your prospect has to have, you can use that to eliminate vendors to narrow it down to the few that will indeed work.
As the advisor, your job is to funnel it down to a couple of proposals. This is accomplished by asking both the prospect and the vendors a lot of pointed questions. This will come with time and experience too, but if you aren’t in the swing of asking questions, this is a good time to practice.
Look for more on this scenario next month and in my blog.Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO (News - Alert) Inc. (http://rad-info.net/).
Edited by Jennifer Russell