“Relationships drive business!”, according to the crusty sales veteran! The young sales leader rolls her eyes. The old fundamentals are true to the point that buyers acquire goods and services form sources that they like and trust. Nevertheless, in an environment where business transactions are consummated in the time that it used to take to order another round for the purchasing team, individual relationships reflect only one factor. However, the trust is less on the individual, and more on the selling team delivering on the solutions that they claim. Results matter like never before! Growth-oriented vendors sell performance and experiences that buyers demand for their specific internal reasons; whatever they are!
Traditionally, knowledge-based sales require a representative who knows the marketplace, competition and intelligence associated with the goods and/ or service that they must sell. However, in a time where many buying decisions are remotely consummated at the same time that shipping processes initiate, successful sales are based on conveying experience to perform at such levels of expectation. Selling experience equates to selling trust. Customers buy when they are confident that transactions will execute properly. A competitive vendor is easier to find when executed standards are unmet.
Another way that successful sellers transact experiences is with modern iterations of lagniappe. The traditional extra pastry with the purchase of a dozen is less impressive with maturing buyers being attentive to their waistlines. But, the purchasing experience still needs to be memorable and personalized to truly create stickier customers. What result will the customer value to make its experience easier to engage the seller again? Epic experiences must engage emotional connectivity! So, how does a sales pro create an emotional bond for a buyer acquiring 15 tons of organic cotton to create high end apparel? Sharing a genuine and common love affair with protecting the environment and serving fiercely loyal customers is a great start!
Nevertheless, with so much selling based on aligned experiences, how do sellers truly determine buyers’ loyalty? First, loyalty must be clearly defined and identified by both parties. With certain exceptions, buyers do not demand exclusivity for certain goods. Service exceptions can be slightly more prevalent because sellers who provide unmatched experiences to customers have stickier buyers. Nevertheless, unmatched is a tough threshold. The key to delivering exclusive creativity comes down to conveying unique benefits that the seller delivers either through past experience or combining product and service functionality in a singular way. Nevertheless, to maximize value, as well as price, the creative solution must be singularly delivered. Consider selling a conference to a business group with a line-up of luminaries that had never previously assembled together.
Other ways to maximize value, and subsequent revenue, is to create a service environment that cannot be easily replicated by a competitor. For example, in an environment where product development becomes a significant differentiator, additional value can be created by developing faster processes to satisfy manufacturing requirements. Manufacturers who have efficiently incorporated 3D printing in their product development processes have manifested a measurable advantage to begin manufacturing highly specific components for demanding customers. Consequently, customers along this specific supply chain create technological advantages that can be incorporated into better storytelling, more productive assembly and increased sales to benefit the seller.
Ultimately, highly valued solutions appeal to a customer’s ability to deliver excellence to their customers and end users. With regards to strategic and financial value, old incumbents often can only sell on their past history of success. Newer organizations sell based on their innovation, relevance, and comprehension of newer trends. These advantages directly impact customers who value being more flexible and can leverage an advantage in servicing fast moving markets. Ultimately, the customer prevails. If they want to buy creativity, then sell them creativity. Maximizing business development depends on knowing the target, their values, and their ultimate point of satisfaction.
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC