Written by Jamie Irvine | 3-minute read
This week I met with a supplier.
My roles, as both a Sales Professional and an Entrepreneur, allow me to often be on “both sides of the desk” as it were in sales situations.
As the potential customer for this supplier, I observed several things that I thought were interesting and reminded me of how to do it, and simultaneously how NOT to do it.
This supplier had their sales person contact me through social media. Build rapport with me. Make me like them. Make me want to do business with them. I agreed to a meeting.
This is exactly how it should be done.
Social selling at it’s best!
Then we had the meeting and I was introduced to the person who would be providing the solution I was looking for.
The meeting started off as expected with a series of “needs analysis” type questions.
Finally, it came to the part of the sales conversation where they were going to qualify me on my budget. Again this was right on time and appropriate.
Then it all went wrong.
The supplier was trying to nail down how much I was willing to spend and said, “how much are you willing to invest in this project with zero return on investment, in other words, how much are you willing to gamble away?”
This question set me back.
Why would I be willing to gamble away any of my money?
Why would I invest in something that the supplier could not guarantee a return on investment on?
Now I understand that in business there is always risk associated with every move you make, but I expect that suppliers have done their jobs and thoroughly tested their solutions so that they can provide their customers with some guarantee.
I also believe that a supplier should create proposals based on what is BEST for the customer. In other words, they would say something like. “Mr. Customer, after our conversation I have a better understanding of what you are trying to accomplish, we have found that customers in your position are most successful when they do X and this typically costs Y but consistently produces Z result. Is that something you would be able to do?”
If the customer has insufficient budget for the entire solution then, if possible, the solution should be implemented in steps and the return on investment can be reinvested to fund the entire solution.
The supplier can say something like, “Mr. Customer, I understand that you don’t have the budget for our entire solution, what we have done in the past with customers in your situation is we extend the timeline and focus on one part of the solution at a time. It takes a little longer and the results are a little less, but in the end, we can help you accomplish your goal. When would you like to get started?”
The lesson in this interaction is clear.
You as a sales professional can do everything right but if the entire process is not designed to provide your customer with a consistent experience and a predictable result you will lose many deals.
As a business owner or executive, the responsibility lies with you to ensure that your business provides a systematic method of delivering your sales, marketing, and customer fulfillment systems and that those systems produce a consistent result for all of the stakeholders in your business. This includes your customers, employees, suppliers, lenders, and investors.
The entire thing will fall apart if one or more of these systems fail to produce that consistent result. That is why I have always developed a blueprint of the entire business to ensure that every system works in harmony with the greater system which is your business.
If you are a small business owner I have a free gift for you.
You can download the blueprint I use and gain access to the first two lessons of my course – the Blueprint of a Great Business – absolutely free.