Once in a while, your selling skills are tested with the toughest selling situations imaginable. Here are four examples and some ideas you can tap into the next time these less-than-ideal situations present themselves.
• The competition is entrenched.
• Your sole-supplier position is threatened.
• You’re the higher-priced supplier.
• The customer just wants you to bid.
When the competition has been the sole supplier for ages
In this scenario, the point is not to “steal” the business but to explore opportunities where you, better than anybody else, can make a contribution to your customer’s business results. If they’re happy with their current supplier, those opportunities may take a while to develop. By establishing low pressure relationships with numerous key Buying Influences, you’ll find out areas in their business that may not be adequately addressed by the competition.
When you’ve been in there so long
You’re never totally safe in a sole supplier situation. The threat of losing your favored spot to a competitor is ever present. Be wary of changes in the customer’s organization that could make the key players consider possible change of vendors. Examine your position regularly for any event that changes the status quo such as management changes or budget cuts.
When trouble looms, go back and review the contributions that you’ve made in the past, and then either re-emphasize them or show how they can be modified to meet your customer’s evolving business needs.
To be continued
Visit the Miller Heiman Knowledge Center for the second half of this discussion: when you’re the higher-priced supplier and when you’re invited to a blind-bid.