Landing the first deal is just the beginning of the customer journey. Many sales professionals make the mistake of closing and immediately moving on to the next opportunity.  But once you’ve got your foot in the door of a new account, why abandon your newly found customer credibility when it can be leveraged to uncover additional business there?

Expanding your reach within an account by asking to be introduced to managers of additional lines of business is an excellent way to cultivate new opportunities and build a protective barrier against the competition, in effect “thermalizing yourself.”  Thermalizing entails asking your new customer to sponsor your introduction to other lines of business, fostering relationships with those contacts and developing opportunities for additional sales. The more entrenched you are in the customer account, the more credibility you build and less likely the competition will get their foot in the door.

Thermalizing is much more effective than cold calling net new accounts. With new accounts, you are always starting at “Square One” from a credibility perspective. In contrast, referrals from existing customers have much higher close rates, shorter sales cycles and tend to be more profitable. You add significant value to a customer when you have successful experience working with them and understand the way they do business. Customers know there will be a learning curve if they work with another vendor. So you automatically have an advantage. Learning to perfect the art of Thermalizing is key to maximizing your effectiveness as a Sales Professional.

In order to be effective at Thermalizing, however, you must to be able to “Dollarize.”  Dollarizing is the art of quantifying your worth as a sales person to your customer. No matter how nice, funny or sincere you are as a person, if you cannot show value to your prospects through your knowledge and proposed solutions, they will not buy from you. Being consultative and helping to translate your worth into cost savings or increased revenue for your customer is absolutely critical to closing the sale.

Dollarizing requires understanding your prospect’s business well enough to be able to articulate the specific return on investment for your solution. For instance, if you are proposing a solution to a medical office, you need to understand the common pain points that healthcare practices experience and be able to pinpoint the specific issues the customer is facing through effective questioning. Once you have that information, dive into the specifics of the issue. As an example, medical clinics often experience high “no-shows” for appointments with a huge negative revenue impact. If this is a primary concern, ask about the number of appointments set per day, the average percent of no-shows, average billable dollars per appointment, what actions they are currently taking to reduce the no-shows, the costs associated with those actions and so on. You could then use the input to develop a solution that makes it easier and less expensive to remind patients about scheduled appointments which would reduce the amount of no-shows – like a Cisco BE6000. This would translate into additional revenue for the medical office. With enough information, you can provide very detailed numbers and show a significant ROI with your proposal. The more details, the more compelling the offer is and the more difficult it will be for your prospect to say “no.”

Gaining insight into this level of detail serves two purposes. One, it enables you to determine the specific cost savings or additional revenue that could be expected with your proposed solution and a subsequent Return on Investment. Secondly, you will be viewed as a consultative partner who is investing the time to develop a tailor-made solution designed to meet the prospect’s specific needs.

Overtime, you will develop the experience and insight needed to be an effective questioner with your prospects. But if you need help getting started, try the “Cisco Conversations Guide” mobile application which is available in the Apple App Store and Android Store free of charge. Simply select your prospect’s business vertical and one to two pain-points.  The application will develop an ad hoc customized presentation on your mobile device that you can use to guide your initial conversations with the prospect. You can also access Cisco Sales Excellence training modules focused on financial selling at www.cisco.com/go/pec. These modules will help develop your skills in calculating ROI’s for your proposed solutions based on your prospects’ specific situation.

No matter how you develop your skills, mastering the art of Thermalizing and Dollarizing is absolutely necessary in today’s competitive business climate. Leveraging your existing customer contacts to penetrate deeper and wider into your accounts is the most efficient way to gain referrals and buffer yourself from the competition. And Dollarizing will help ensure your credibility as a sales person and maximize your close rates. Both will help your build a protective bubble around your business.


Karin Surber

Sr. Global Business Development Manager

Global Partner Strategy and Planning