How to Get
Your Next ILS
Stephen Abram, MLS
Aug. 6, 2014
First Key Question
• Who is your audience?
– Your Boss
– Systems Chief
– Board of directors / Trustees
What is the Leader’s Context?
• Transformative Change
• Strategic Considerations
• Operational efficiency and effectiveness
• Decision quality – informed decision making
These are not in any particular order.
Second Key Question
• What do you need to achieve?
– Forklift Change
– Upgrade scheduling
– Movement to Cloud
Is there a difference between your
needs and theirs?
Quick Tip #1
1. Tie it to a company initiative. Is your
organization undertaking process change or an
update to a CRM or ERP system? If so, now may
be the time to talk to your CEO and CFO about
the switch. By combining initiatives, your
company may be able to reduce migration costs
by rolling out the new systems together, while
saving time educating new users.
Quick Tip #2
2. Explain the personal benefits of a switch.
The CEO and CFO may not care that you can
deploy more webpages or if you have better
deliverability, but they will care if you can give
them insight to help them make better business
decisions. Show them how better information
and records management can give them more
benefits into better strategically aligned results.
Also, highlight the benefits that come from more
decision productivity and alignment with results.
Quick Tip #3
3. Tie the CFO’s goals to the project. Is your CFO
being called upon to reduce costs this half of the
year? Explain the true cost of the existing system –
software plus people to run and maintain it. Then
show how the long-term savings enabled by a
newer system will quickly outweigh the up-front
costs. Is revenue growth the CFO’s primary
motivator? Outline how the new technology will
allow you to launch and optimize the productivity
and performance of strategic employees,
department and groups.
Quick Tip #4
4. Get the CEO and CFO involved in the decision
process. Often purchase requests are rejected
because the decisions makers weren’t involved
in evaluating and selecting the technology. Ask
the CEO and CFO to share their questions and
concerns about the switch and involve them in
the decision-making process to minimize
objections. Remember AIDA and the negative
effects of ‘surprise’.
Quick Tip #5
5. Share success stories and encourage the CEO
and CFO to talk to customer references. Early on,
share testimonials and case studies that
demonstrate the ROI that similar companies have
realized by making the switch. Close to making the
switch? Set the CEO and CFO up for coffee or a
phone call with one of their peers who has made a
successful transition. Hearing from another
company in a similar situation is one of the best
ways to convince an executive that a change will
deliver long-term benefits.
By focusing the “switch” discussion around the
goals and concerns of the CEO and CFO, you are
much more likely to get buy-in for the tool you
And get the top management champion to get
on the IT priority radar…
Stephen’s Cialdini Obsession
Robert B. Cialdini is Regents'
Professor Emeritus of
Psychology and Marketing at
Arizona State University. He
is best known for his 1984
book on persuasion and
marketing, Influence: The
Psychology of Persuasion.
Sales is NOT a Dirty Word!!
• It’s simple really.
• You want to influence . . . That’s selling plain and
• Therefore . . . What are you selling?
– Time savings? Quality? Productivity? Authority? Answers?
– Certainly not ‘information’ . . . What is your differentiator?
• What action do you want?
• What are they paying with?
– Cash Money? budget? time? reputation? Risk avoidance?
What is the one thing we do
wrong too often?
We don’t . . .
START WITH THE “WHY?”
Influence out of context is just a party conversation.
1. Promote vs. defend value-driven benefits
2. Knowledge is the bridge between information and action
3. Evolution, not revolution
4. The “suite” spot—appealing to decision-makers
5. The “L” word
Five Key Findings
Key Messages for the Professional to
Information professionals are
accountable for gathering, organizing
and sharing the right information for
the best decisions. Information
professionals further create a culture
of knowledge sharing by educating
colleagues on the best use of
Through active global networking,
information professionals promote
the exchange of information,
innovative ideas, insights and
Key Messages for the Professional to Use
Information professionals ensure
organizations have the right
information, insights and trends to
make good decisions and gain
Information professionals save
organizations time and money by
providing value-added intelligence
that is accurate, reliable and
relevant. We deliver expert
information to our organizations in
a timely, accessible and convenient
Differences in the Private and Public Sector
Approaches to Benefits (FABS)
Competitive advantage is the ideal
Innovation is key to long-term existence
Focus on clients and marketshare
Responsibility to shareholders or
Economic success is a prime personal
Competitors, partners and allies
e-Business is the challenge
Focus on “results”
Collaborative advantage is the ideal
Good service is the key to long-term
Focus on citizens and social contract
Political agendas and government
Responsibility to parliament and to
Wise use of tax dollars
Making a positive impact on society is a
Other departments, levels of government,
e-Government is the challenge
Focus on “process”
You are engaging in an INFLUENCE
Selling is not a dirty word!
Politics is not a dirty word!
You are engaging in a long term relationship!
Invest your personality
Position Yourself and not merely your resources . . .
• What are you all about?
• How do people recognize you?
• How do you make a difference?
• How do you get the word out?
• How do you ultimately profit?
YOUR COMPETENCIES – NOT JUST YOUR SKILLS
YOUR INSIGHTS AND ADVICE
YOUR NETWORK AND CONNECTIONS
What are you selling?
4 P’s of Personal Influence
Vendor: Partner or Foe?
Working the tradeshow
Relationships and Negotiating with
(Vendors are people too…..really….)
Conducting yourself with Vendors – the do’s and
• Don’t forget your colleagues are vendors
• Don’t forget you are a professional
• Don’t use the grapevine and discussion lists for
gossip – ask them the difficult questions
• Do treat vendors like professionals (and yourself too)
• Do use your vendors for the information you need
• Do your business transactions in a business-like
• Remember that some of your employers are vendors
too and have a business model.
• Vendors can be your friend; treat them like
one as they earn it
• Use their expertise and networks
• Meet with them to educate yourself
• Ask lots of questions
Use your People Skills
• You can separate the true Vendor Reps from
“Fly by Night” sales people
• Let them know your current situation, your
• Learn to understand the vendor’s product(s);
what it is and what its limitations are
• “You get what you pay for” generally holds
Know your Situation
• When you take over a library…
– Arrange for meetings with your vendors
– Ask for them to prepare a profile of your account,
with what you own (including pricing)
– “Here’s what I’m trying to do”
– If you don’t understand the product, ask them to
help you out. Don’t be afraid to ask dumb
– Ask them if there are things THEY think you should
• Ensure you compare “Apples to Apples”
• A vendor may be able to sell you an Apple or
• Judge the complete package, including service
• Ask for “comparable” references (though they
usually are good)
• Can be very constrictive – consider a pre-
RFP research phase or RFI
• May remove decision making from
• Designed by purchasing to “be fair”
• Limit discussion, understanding, and
• If you need to do an RFP:
– Talk to the list first and qualify them
– Segregate “need” statements
(situation) from feature and function
– Give grading criteria
– Book presentations/meetings
– Consider real demos versus beauty
What is Negotiating
• “a series of communications either
oral or in writing that reach a
satisfying conclusion for all
• You’re in a power position – be wise
• Ask questions, advise on situation
• Deal with reality
• Work as a team with your Rep, not as an
adversary. You will get at least a better deal
and much better service!
• It’s a long term relationship . . . Not just a
To Get the Best Price
• Are you kidding, I can’t tell you that!!!
• Just do your homework
– Talk to other people
– But, go back to your vendor
– Continue to communicate
• Know the real cost: Value, Price, Cost, and TCO
are very different lenses
Maintaining your Relationships
• Make clear your expectations of your
relationship (be realistic of course).
• Ask the representative what you can expect
from them in maintaining your account
• Understand the responsibilities of your Rep
and try to meet the back office.
• Communicate – let them know if you are not
happy or need something
• Let the reps know how you feel. Don’t forget
• Don’t be afraid!
• Listen, you may find yourself on the Dark Side
• Use common sense
• Vendors want to help you do your work better
• They are experts on solving your problems
Making the most of it
Determine your goals for the show and questions in advance
Take notes and keep them organized (and the literature really
is on the website)
Learn to say “NO”! (but not first)
Seek out new vendors (Who are you?)
Book appointments before you arrive
Ask open-ended questions
Don’t only socialize with old friends
Know the tempo of the tradeshow
Wear comfortable shoes
Be a participant
Is it really about pens?