SP500: Five Tips To Act Like A High-Priced Consultant

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Do your salespeople know what ROI is? Can they explain how to compute P&L?

Many business owners assume their employees know more than they probably do, and as a result those companies don't run as productively or as efficiently as they should, said David Stelzl, owner and founder of Stelzl Visionary Learning Concepts, during a general session at CRN's Solution Provider 500 conference in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday.

"One [business owner] told me some of his people think there's an 'N' in the middle of P&L," Stelzl told the audience of solution providers.

[Related: SP500: Social Media Changing The Way IT Is Consumed, Says IBM]

Stelzl offered attendees five tips on how to unlock the secrets of high-priced consultants, in essence, helping them get their companies over some hurdles to success.

First, you need to realize you sell one of four things to customers: ROI, competitive advantage, operational efficiency or risk mitigation, he said.

He cited one example of a business owner trying to get into a new account, a national fast food chain. The owner went into a local franchise and asked to work there for two weeks, for free, in order to learn the business.

"He starts unloading trucks at 6 a.m.," Stelzl said. Two weeks he had documentation of several areas where operational improvements could be made.

"He calls up headquarter and says, 'I need 15 minutes of your executives' time and shows them some amazing things. The truck sits there for an hour every morning and cars can't get into the parking lot. Half your team is not serving customers for that hour. I can show you how to get it done in 15 minutes,'" Stelzl said. The company won the deal, he said.

Second, solution providers should look at new marketing roles such as educational marketing and demand generation, Stelzl said. Offer assessments and workshops that can help customers in their business. "You can set up your own event, but it can't be about a product. It has to be about value," Stelzl said.

Third, make sure your discovery process works. You can't just go in and discover issues in a customer's business, you have to show value on how to remedy them, he said. As an example, he noted a company he worked with that won a paid assessment project but was not expected to win the implementation.

"They sent in an engineer to start gathering data. I said you don't want an engineer in there yet. You want you [the CEO] in there. The assessment shouldn't be technology; it should be workflow, efficiency, risks. Figure out where the big issues are going to be, then send the tech guy in to validate it," Stelzl said.

NEXT: Charge Customers Based On Value

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