In our book, "The Collaborative Sale"1, my colleague Keith Eades and I explored how buyers’ expectations of salespeople have changed over the last few years. Our research shows that buyers have more access to information than ever before. As a result, they feel fully empowered to control their buying process, with significantly less interaction with salespeople, especially in the early stages of a purchase evaluation.
Your credibility among clients is a key factor determining your ability to persuade, which your sales depend on. If it is not high enough, it’ll be far harder for you to get new orders. How can you strengthen your credibility in the eyes of the client, so that it translates not only into short-term sales, but also long-term benefits for your relationship and your image?
There’s nothing quite like signing a new contract with a client. Your enthusiasm drops, however, when the client buys something but doesn’t pay on time. Some salespeople try at all costs to recover the amount due, often without effect. Others, for fear of losing both the client and their reputation, take no action.
A hybrid consumer, that is a person who buys products at various price levels depending on their needs and priorities - and regardless of their means - is a relatively new concept. How do your needs and expectations translate into the purchase process, and what does this mean for salespeople?
Until recently, the sales process gave direction to the salesperson’s actions and determined their effectiveness. Today, clients are taking control of the sales process, and at which stage the salesperson makes their appearance determines how great their influence will be. Understanding the client’s purchase path and matching the sales process to it provides a distinct competitive advantage and allows you to manage the sales funnel more efficiently.
I recently called a long-time customer to ask them to be a reference for a prospect we were trying to close. This client was someone we had worked with for several years, with consistently good results. Still, I always feel a little reluctant to ask customers for a favor, above and beyond our usual business relationship.
In trade, we meet with different clients, including people with disabilities. So, it is worth finding out how to avoid awkward situations when contacting a customer with a disability.
Premium customers are very demanding. One of the fundamental elements which can decide success or failure in the luxury goods market is good research on the type of premium customers you are dealing with, what affects their purchasing decisions and their expectations of sales and service.