Blog 5 of 7.
Over the last few weeks we have been discussing the six sales imperatives- Things that simply don’t change because in sales because they are so important to customers. The rapidly changing business world and the swirl of technology can distract us and make us forget about these imperatives. Letting that happen will have consequences. Here’s how to prevent it:
Imperative number 4: Know your own business so you can help their business.
Why do buyers buy? It’s an age-old question with a surprisingly simple answer. They believe that what they are buying will help their business. While there are many personal motivations that can contribute to why someone makes a buying decision, that one essential reason, helping their business, is almost always present. There are different ways to help a business and is it your job as a salesperson to determine which reason is most important to the buyer. In order to help their business, however, you need to know your business. Specifically, in what ways your product or service can help a business.
The primary goal of all for-profit business is exactly that, to make a profit. There are four fundamental ways, however, to increase profits: Increase revenue, reduce cost, increase quality or reduce effort. Depending on the role and responsibilities of the person or people making the buying decision, one of the four ways may be most important to them. If your buyer is in sales they may be most concerned about revenue, if your buyer is in purchasing they may be most concerned about cost, if your buyer is in marketing they be most concerned about quality, if your buyer is in production they may be most concerned about reducing effort, or if your buyer is the CEO/CFO/Business Owner they may not have a preference on how and just care about increasing the overall profit of the business.
In order to make a sale you will need to demonstrate how your product or service aligns with what is important to the buyer. In order to do this, you must understand how your product/service impacts the overall profitability of the business through each of the four profit components.
Increase Revenue– How does your product or service help a company make more sales? Does it increase the effectiveness of their sales efforts? Does it increase awareness of their product or service? Does it add a feature/benefit that is more attractive to their customers?
Reduce Cost– How does your product or service help a company reduce their cost of doing business? Does it reduce the cost of materials? Does it reduce headcount/overtime? Does it reduce distribution costs? Does it reduce maintenance costs?
Increase Quality– How does your product or service increase the quality of the company’s product or service? Does it provide them with better materials? Does it help them provide better service? Does it help them find better people? Does it provide better education/training?
Reduce Effort– How does your product or service help a company be more productive? Does it help them reduce downtime? Does it help increase output? Does it help reduce waste? Does it eliminate procedures/steps? Does it help make them faster?
Increase Profit– Which of the above components does your product/service impact the most? What delivers the most positive impact to their bottom line?
Most likely your product/service does not impact all four profit components equally. You need to understand how your product or service impacts each profit component so you can show value to prospective buyers. For example: let’s say you sell high-end copiers and you’re dealing directly with a prospect’s purchasing department. You discover through conversation that their primary motivation is to reduce costs. So, while your copiers are better quality and easier to use, with this buyer you need to be able to demonstrate how you can reduce cost. Because you understand your business, you explain that while your copiers are more expensive upfront than the competition, they break less and the reduction in maintenance costs means the prospect will actually save money in the long run.
Again, by knowing your business you will know how you can help a customer’s business.
If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The WinSource, you can find them here.
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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!