Sunday, 6 December 2009

Making it easier for a Buyers to Buy

There are 3 key areas in this topic;
Part 1: Modern Buyer Expectations
Part 2: Integrated Sales Process and In-house Integrated Sales & Purchasing

Part 1
Modern Buyer Expectations
“We're all exceptionally busy and we've got tight deadlines to meet. I don't like to do this, but we're having to making hard decisions to meet our business expectations and deadlines; which generally means companies who post our requirements (like quotes, specifications and in-house data) are marked down and less likely to be a supplier or regular trader. Those providing integrated services are our desired partner and supplier. ” answered the modern buyer of a large leisure and hospitality group about their expectations and desired supplier experience.

I'm working backwards from the buyers experience to sales integration and technique.
The reason for this is if the experience is poor but a smooth sales technique, customers wont stay.
Think of it as a whole in a bucket, if customers & work are leaking away it doesn't matter about the sales technique, marketing or generation just stop the leak.

To understand a Modern Buyers Expectations we're best first understanding why a customer will leave and the opportunities it presents. Amazingly when a customer leaves a supplier many businesses don't ask “the Why's” - some don't want to know, others think they know (the telepathy method) and most that do ask don't listen to the answers. Its reasonably easy to spot the business listening to their buyers as their business is pretty stable, they tend to be ahead of their piers in sales figures despite economic climates. This is because they don't lose many customers, a bi-product of listening to them, they value and use the feedback to get ahead, ensuring they don't lose future customers and in doing so attract new ones.

In a Buyer and Supplier relationship, like any relationship, there is going to personal clashes except there's more persons to clash with. Once a supplier, there are two possible clashes [a] delivery of service and [b] cashflow. The accounts department (sometimes referred too as “anti sales team') is the most likely to cause clashes over cashflow, were in the customers viewsomeone or something is unreasonable and so on. Covering the aspects of dealing with these issues or clashes will be in a coming article and blog on “developing your customers.”

In the majority of cases when a Modern Buyer and customer leaves and there's no relationship clash, its because the buyer wants a smoother service. Knowing the reasons for this is critical to rescuing the business, usual it's for a more modern approach (integrated sales & purchasing system) or its part of a consolidation process; which is drawing a combination of services together, increasing purchasing power, reducing supplier base and creating more time focus on their business.

At this point some will be thinking, I've missed out price as the main reason for a buyer leaving. However if price is the change issue the service was at a TRADER level and the business never raised the customer relationship to an account management level.
The customer never got or valued the experience, there was no real relationship
(knowing your customer levels & “developing your customers” is another topic & blog).

The modern buyer and customer journey has changed they're looking for faster, smother services and why not, there's plenty of technology available and they're expecting suppliers to utilise it through IT integration, supported by service specialisum.

Consider the points within “Sales Leadership” article before and the think of these modern expectations; to stop the leaking customers, look to modernise and ask them “why have their orders gone down – is it you? Why do they use a number of suppliers? What accreditations do they value (most common mistake to accredit yourself to you value)? Why are they leaving? Can we do anything more for you? But above all – ask the customers you lost 3, 6, 12, 24 months ago! Your likely to find they value you more for coming back to ask and for showing your modernising.

I'll have Part 2 available shortly but in the mean time I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts.

If you want to get more on related blogs view
Increasing Cashflow through your Sales Force” and “Sales Leadership
or want to know more on Tim visit & - you can also keep up with him at, &