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FLEXO Magazine : January 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES So now you’re thinking, “OK,Mr. Sales Consultant, how do we address this in the flexographic printing marketplace?” First, I don’t want to say that achieving the sales objectives in this envi- ronment is easy. However, there are ways to increase your odds of success. First, you need to differentiate yourself while qualifying your prospective customers. This needs to be done in such a manner that you invest your time with the prospective customers that are going to indeed make a decision. You need to ask questions such as: ?? Do you have the funding? ??Is this investment in your budget? ??What is your timeframe to implement? However, if the value is greater than the cost at the initial time of “ask,” the salesperson has a lever to make the sale happen now versus the customer delaying. The excuse of, “I don’t know, I need to think about it” is resolved with “If the value is greater than the cost every day you waitMr. Customer you are losing money, why would you want to wait?” OK, so you are buying my dog food, but how does one get that value data? Those approaches can be taught. The approach requires confidence, and the proper questioning. With a little bit of coaching one can learn how to do this. To explain the process would take longer than I am allocated in this column but it can be taught. Without identifying the customer value, the sales cycle stretches out and you have no lever to shorten it. With the value quantified, you either get the business or quantify early on, that First, you need to differentiate yourself while qualifying your prospective customers. This needs to be done in such a manner that you invest your time with the prospective customers that are going to indeed make a decision. Secondly, you need to be able to quantify why the customer should make a decision relative to your offering. Frankly, for me this is a simple concept but one that is rarely implemented. Your solution should be bringing value to your customer. If you have not worked with the customer to quantify that value you are missing a major positive influence that can help you achieve the sale. There is never a time that a salesman does not quantify for a customer the cost of the product or service he is selling. However, it is a rare occurrence that the sales person quantifies in dollar amounts the benefits/value of the investment. You need to explain to the customer that it should be an easy decision making process. If the benefits/value (side of the scale) delivered by your product or service is greater than the cost (side of the scale) of that product or service, then the proposed busi- ness decision is a good one. If the cost is greater, then the cus- tomer should not proceed. Have you ever had a salesman tell you, as the customer, that maybe you should NOT buy his offering. Do you think that sales- man has added credibility and trust to his customer relationship. If the value is not greater than the cost today, who do you think the customer will call when the value exceeds the cost? You got it, the salesperson that told him to hold off. this customer is NOT a qualified buyer. Getting the business is great but determining you are not investing your time wisely is also very positive. If this occurs you can take that time and allo- cate it to finding a real buyer. Good luck and good selling! ? ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roger Bostdorff is the presi- dent of B2B Sales Boost. He has spent more than 30 years with IBM in sales and sales management. B2B Sales Boost is a consulting com- pany helping organizations improve their sales. Find out more about B2B Sales Boost on the web at www. b2bsalesboost.com or calling 419-351-4347. www. f le xography. org JANUARY 2009 FLEXO 43
End of Year 2008