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By Donna Wenk

Sophisticated unified communications solutions are being used across all industries, and adoption is growing. This should come as no surprise, as the best cloud-based UC platforms improve productivity, keep teams connected and ensure disaster preparedness in a manner that is secure, reliable and intuitive.

With the right UC fit, your clients can read voicemails on the go, meet face-to-face via video conferencing from New York to Los Angeles, chat live with colleagues, re-route phone calls, and manage and customize everything they need from any device, anywhere.

However, as the UC market grows in size and complexity, it’s critical that agents have a firm understanding about what motivates clients to buy and the pitfalls to avoid. So we went to the source and surveyed the leading agents and channel managers in the UC industry to get their perspective.

Below is a summary of our findings concerning the five top mistakes agents must avoid in order to drive more sales.

Mistake 1: Selling on Price

When a buying commitment is near, decision-makers always question whether or not they are getting a “good deal.” However, catering to this price-focused instinct is the biggest mistake sales people make when selling UC platforms. Teaching clients to buy at the lowest price commoditizes UC and distracts them from the most important question: What solution is going to do the best job of solving my business challenges?

Channel partners should guide clients to focus on value instead of price and to consider the quality of customer service and the specific features and capabilities that will streamline their businesses, such as easy, online access to communications settings or unlimited auto attendants and phone numbers. 

Mistake 2: Selling Features

When the cost is too high or the installation too long for a client to pull the trigger, it is almost always because he or she doesn’t grasp the true value of the service. To help clients discard the notion of UC as a commodity, you must emphasize benefits over features.

The features of a solution are important to the degree that the phone is comfortable or the applications are easy to use. However, benefits such as improved productivity are what ultimately sell a solution. The best sales people create solutions to customers’ problems; they do not push products.

Mistake 3: Overlooking Communication With Providers

The relationship and two-way communication between the UC platform provider and the sales agent can mean the difference between completing a sale, or not. With more than 2,100 hosted providers, it is important to know the platforms you sell inside and out.

You should ask questions often and develop relationships with contacts who can get your team the best information and training on their platform. This inquisitiveness will equip you with a deeper understanding of how a given platform solves business challenges, allowing you to build a stronger case to clients on the value it offers and leading to bigger and more profitable opportunities.

Mistake 4: Overcomplicating and Overexplaining

Clients are busy running their businesses and don’t spend six to eight hours a day thinking about UC platforms. Break down the solutions, and explain the ROI with tangible examples, such as improving employee productivity and removing the cost of software updates. Use real words and stay acronym- and jargon-free to explain what the solution can do.

Mistake 5: Failing to Establish Trust

Selling a UC solution is a process built on TRUST. Very rarely is a sales agent going to walk in the door of a prospective client and walk out an hour later with a closed deal. Instead, you’ll need to ask the right questions so that your prospects share their problems and challenges.

Listen, empathize and repeat it back to them so that they can hear that you were listening and understand. Your prospect has recognized the need for a change, but may fear moving into the unknown.

The most successful sales people are the ones who look for long-term value and treat prospects like a long-term investment. While a customer is a transactional, one-time purchaser, a client is someone with whom you develop a relationship and who comes back to you for advice and guidance in areas where they lack expertise.

By avoiding these five common mistakes, UC agents will be able to turn transactional, one-time customers into trusting clients while increasing sales.

Donna Wenk is senior vice president of alternate sales at Broadview Networks.