Nov 15

Price is not everything

Every day sellers are busy managing the relationship with their customers. The tasks are various: preparing quotations, managing customers' satisfaction, fighting the competition, displaying best offers, negotiating supplying terms, monitoring payment process, evaluating potential prospects, dealing with deliveries and so on. We can end with Charles Dickens' words: “It's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it”.

However how do the costumers judge the sellers? Which are the common mistakes they make during the selling relationship? An interesting view is offered by a research that involved 138 customers, responsible for making B2B purchases for large North American companies in many different industries. Based on data collected from the analysis, Harvard Business Review  published few years ago a kind of ranking that highlights some interesting aspects.

Sellers do not care about purchasing processes of corporate customers neither follow their buying process.  The formal observance of the "rules of engagement" dictated by the buyer makes the customer-supplier relationship easier, and characterizes the level of mutual satisfaction.

They do not listen to customers' needs. The ability to pay attention to customers, to devote time at their premises allow sellers to reach the essential core of sale more quickly: solving customers' problems and creating the right conditions to become richer.

Don't follow-up. Relationship with customers must be seamless and requires a constant engagement. Other corporate roles can be involved in the matter but they will never replace seller's pivot role and continuous feedback.

They are too pushy. The ability of being close to the customer is an attitude that must be developed carefully; it depends on many variables and relies on the attitude of every single customer.

Don't explain solutions adequately and sometimes they make exaggerated or inaccurate claims. Customers invest their money into buying products and services: therefore they need to understand every aspects of seller’s proposal, while being reassured zealously about their buying decisions.

Don't know customer's business. Know the customer’s business and its concerns boosts the chances of success for the seller. It means putting ourselves in the shoes of the buyers and - once again - solving their problems and providing wealth to them.

Act too familiar, don't know or respect the competition. During each stage of the sales process, communication must be shaped at the highest competence, even if communication tone is friendly. Furthermore, it should leverage on the strong points of the offer and what makes the difference from the competitors.

At the last place of the ranking, buyers tell that sellers charge too high prices. It is surprising that price is the last of a buyer concern, isn't it?