Monday, March 12, 2012

To Sell More Big Deals...Put one big deal under the microscope

Many years ago, I sold a single-sourcing arrangement to a large consumer optical products company. This big deal was worth more than $2 million in annual sales. At that time, the client had several vendors, but I was the preferred partner.

One of my primary contacts was in purchasing. One day at lunch, she confided her department was going to be restructured, and she was going to lose a staff member. She was worried because that person handled many administrative tasks including routing proofs, issuing PO’s, and bidding projects. Everyone else on the team was very busy, and she saw no easy way to reallocate tasks.

This turn of events opened a door for me. I asked if her company would ever consider a single-sourcing agreement. In return for the larger volume of business, I could provide preferential pricing plus an on-site customer service person to handle administrative tasks.

At that point in time, I was bidding on all the projects and receiving more than 50 percent of the total volume of work. It was well established that my pricing was competitive and fair. My company delivered consistent quality, and we had demonstrated our willingness to go the extra mile many times.

The customer knew she could count on us.

My client was very interested, but she wasn’t the decision-maker. She arranged for me to meet her boss, the vice president of Purchasing. We discussed and negotiated, and they finally agreed to buy.

The timeframe from the first conversation until the contract was signed was about six months. It was a great deal for the customer and a fantastic deal for me. I closed this sale because:
-The customer solved a major problem.
-The benefits I offered were high in value.
-Pricing was perceived to be fair.
-I was able to talk to the decision-maker.

Since my company was a known entity and the preferred vendor, the customer considered the risks of a deeper relationship to be low.

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