Thursday, May 13, 2010

Effective Follow-Up: Part 2

Part two of the effective follow-up: Did You Bring Enough Value?

Mark Gulledge bought print and sold it, too. He said, “You have to bring me something—expertise, new options—something that has a positive impact on my business. If you can’t tell me how you can make me better off, I don’t need to see you again. Bring me value and my door is open.”

Dave Taylor said, “Generally, I have three to five vendors in a category. Price is not my only criteria. I buy value and that’s determined by a vendor’s ability to meet critical requirements relating to product usage, delivery dates and material requirements.

Value is built on benefits. In “Selling to Anyone Over the Phone,” Renee P. Walkup categorizes benefits in five basic categories.

  • Saving time.
  • Saving money.
  • Increasing revenue.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Improving productivity.
Customers desire some of the benefits you offer and don’t care about others. They don't always buy the best solution. They buy the solution with the best value.

Greg Guess, Principal and Chief Creative Officer at G2 Communications, said “I don’t like pushy sales people who don’t ask enough questions to find out what I need, but try to sell me something anyway. Since I’ve purchased printing for many years, I have established vendors and I chose them based on capabilities, quality, service and pricing. The only reason I would go outside of my group was dissatisfaction in one of the four criteria above.”

Buyers are busy. They agree to meet the first time because they want to solve a problem or because your offering sounds intriguing and they’re interested in learning more. If education was the motivation and they learned all they needed to know in the first call, you won't be invited back.

If there is a problem and you have a solution, opportunity exists. Your challenge is to demonstrate value and prove you’re the best choice among the available substitutes. To accomplish this I developed a technique called Clarify and Confirm.

  • Make a statement outlining a specific problem you can help the buyer solve.
  • Ask a question to clarify if this is an issue for the buyer.
  • If the buyer agrees they would like to solve the problem, share the specific benefits of solving the problem with the buyer.
  • Ask a question to confirm the buyer is interested in receiving the benefits.
Dave Taylor said, “Highlight your strengths. Tell me what makes you different.”

To put it another way, offering up a platter heaped with benefits isn’t enough. They must differ in significant way from ones currently supplied by the incumbent, or the buyer won’t be motivated to make a change.

Part three...tomorrow!

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