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Does Your Buyer Think Your Company Looks Like All the Rest?

Does Your Buyer Think Your Company Looks Like All the Rest? If your Buyer thinks so, he'll make the decision on price - the lowest price. Don't let your Buyer set your prices!

What can you do to be sure your competitors and your Buyer don't set your prices?

The most important thing is something you can do right now. You can do this in three easy steps. Don't wait! The longer you wait, the more likely you are to either lose the deal or win at the lowest price, and that may not be profitable.

Step 1: Get to know your Buyer inside and out. Here are some questions you can ask about them: Who exactly are they, and what exactly are their challenges? Be clear on their: demographics and psychographics.

Find out: - How do they solve their challenges now? - Who do they call on to solve their challenges? - How do they make their money? - Do they buy products and services to re-sell or put together deals for their customers? Who provides those? - What is their Vision, their Mission and their approach? - What prices do your Buyers pay? - What additional services do they buy or look for? - What are the negotiating points and "deal-killers"?

If you don't know the answers, read what they read, search the Internet the way they do, and use the keywords and questions they do. Study their marketing materials, their Web site. Know their people, their Vision, Mission and approach to solving customers' challenges. What do they promise to their customers? How can you help them deliver on these promises and be successful at what they do?

Find out how they look for partners and companies to help them solve their challenges. Which companies do they routinely call on when they're looking for solutions, or buying products or services? Are you one of them? Why or Why not?

Be your Buyer for a day. And ask your customers! They're usually pleased to be asked.

Your purpose in being a detective here is to be able to solve your customers' challenges and design products and services that they can't wait to buy - from you - at prices that are profitable for you. And to position your company, products and services in relation to your competitors, so your customer easily sees the added value you bring to them.

Talk to your salespeople about what they know about their fellow salespeople and how they sell to your mutual customers. Ask them how your competitors position you in relation to themselves. What do they say about you, your products and services?

A Comparison Matrix is often helpful in comparing the Top 5 companies that your customers consider when making a buying decision. This is a matrix that you often see when you're comparing computers or software. For example, the Basic version provides certain (limited) features, and the Pro version provides many more. Down one side, list products and services that your Buyer looks for. And across the top, list each of the Top 5 companies. Put check marks where each company offers the service and leave a blank space where they don't. You can design one that shows off your company.

Step 2: Now that you know your Buyer, know your own company inside and out. Ask the same questions (above) about your own company that you asked about your competitors. Review and critique your Web site, marketing materials, sales presentations, product and service lines. How do your salespeople position you in relation to your competitors?

Step 3: Ask yourself seriously and very specifically what do you give your customer that affects their bottom line, and is different from your competitors? That is, what is the bottom-line Value you provide? Find out ways that your products and services make a difference to their bottom line. This could be increasing their sales and revenue, increases their productivity (which can increase their sales and profitability) or saving them money or time (which saves money). Use numbers whenever you can, and make sure you can prove those numbers. For example:

How is your approach different? For example, do you take time to get to know them thoroughly, to work closely with them, to meet with them in person? Is your project management with them clear, concise, and consistent? No surprises? On time and on budget? Is your delivery more flexible?

If you take only one thing from this article, make it this one:

Talk about the bottom-line Value you provide to your customer starting in the first sales call. Don't wait until it's time for the close or the proposal. By then, it's too late.

Incorporate how you help their bottom line into your 30-second introduction. Leave a voicemail that says that. Give them your name and number so they can call you right back, and tell them which day you'll call them to follow up.

In future articles, I'll give you ways to work with gatekeepers, and design your voicemails and emails and your 30-second introduction, so that you get through to your busy decision-makers.

About the Author:

Jan Wallen works with companies that want significant sales results. Jan is action- and results-oriented. Once you start working together, she is 100% committed to significant sales results for you. For a sample Comparison Matrix as mentioned above, send an email to [email protected] and put Matrix in the subject line. To learn more, call (646) 485-4059 or go to www.janwallen.com

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