A blog series for U.S. partners by Jenni Flinders, Microsoft U.S. Vice President, Partner Strategy and Programs.

JenniFlinders

Take yourself out of “salesperson mode” for a moment, and put on your customer hat. Aren’t the most persuasive sales pitches, marketing campaigns, and ads those you perceive as truly genuine? Personally, I place a premium on someone’s firsthand experience with a product or service I’m considering buying. Ultimately, it’s reassuring to know that a business doesn’t just want to sell me something; it wants to sell me something it believes in.

Your customers want to know this, too. When they do, it translates to sales. As we approach the largest year of Microsoft product releases—Windows Server 2012 became generally available on September 4, Windows 8 is released to manufacturing now and will be generally available on October 26, the Visual Studio 2012 virtual launch event is on September 12, and Windows Phone 8 and the new Office are on the horizon—both our traditional and non-traditional partners need to approach sales of these new products with a high degree of comfort, fluency, and credibility to take full advantage of revenue potential.

I know from the numerous conversations I had with partners at WPC 2012 in Toronto that many of your business plans take into account, if not pivot upon, successful sales stemming from these launches. You can take a critical first step in those plans right now by taking a walk in your customers’ shoes so that you know how the experience of integrating and leveraging our newest products feels.

By investing in the latest Microsoft products and technologies for your own organization’s productivity gains, you are investing in your business reputation and value as a trusted and knowledgeable advisor on available and relevant business technologies for your customers. In other words, you’ll walk first, and then talk with complete confidence when customers come through your door interested in our just-launched products. Your genuineness then becomes one of your greatest assets.

The Microsoft Partner Network believes so firmly in laying the foundation for your sales success in this way that we’ve made it easy for you to download and use all of this new wave of innovations prior to public launch. I urge you to explore the many resources and tips we’ve compiled for your benefit in this exciting year of product releases by checking our our online guide covering a comprehensive set of resources that enable partners to succeed with these launches. Immerse yourself in the information provided here, with links to your resources to become product proficient, get trained, build apps and devices, and market and sell your Microsoft-based solutions.

Another way to soften long-term sales of this year’s launching products is to encourage your customers currently on Windows XP to get ahead of the curve before the release of Windows 8, and purchase a Windows-based device today that lets them make a smooth transition to Windows 8 down the road. This, too, we’ve made easy by offering all customers who purchase a Windows 7 device a low-cost Windows 8 upgrade once it becomes available. More XP end-of-support resources are at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/endofsupport.aspx.

Try the customers’ shoes on and you’ll be surprised how it paves the way for more naturally productive sales conversations. Follow me on Twitter @Jenni_Flinders and please share what you’re doing to prepare for the exciting year we have before us, and which of these launch prep resources make you feel most prepared for winning!

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z_smallmsuspartnerFind out how to stay informed as a U.S. partner at http://aka.ms/uspstayinformed and how to prepare for the latest product releases at http://aka.ms/usproductlaunch.