“The more you integrate your business with that of a customer, the more difficult it will be for them to step out.” – Mark Schenkius in today’s Tip 608
How do you focus on “routine” items?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today Mark Schenkius is back with another installment in his series. Mark is the founder of ROI 10 where he helps sales professionals get better at dealing with buyers, and he’s also the author of “The Other Side of Sales,” where he shares his perspective after 15 years in procurement. Here he is:
Mark Schenkius: Hi everyone, I’m back with part 2 of the 5 tips series on Kraljic’s purchasing portfolio matrix. If you haven’t yet listened to part one, check back in on tip #601 for an overview of the tool that buyers use extensively for assessing the market they operate in. After all, understanding a buyer’s perspective makes you a much more effective sales professional.
Today’s tip will focus on “non-critical” or “routine” items.
These items are low risk and have a low impact upon organizational profitability. The most commonly used example in this segment is office stationery. Readily available for most companies at relative low cost as well.
Buyers don’t want to spend time and energy on buying routine items since it has very little benefits for them. They can buy it anytime, anywhere without any real financial incentive. This means buyers prefer spending as little time as possible on routine items so they can spend their time on topics that matter more to them.
A buyer’s sourcing strategy here is to focus on efficiency by reducing administrative burden. A few examples of this are: long-term supplier contracts, outsourcing, reducing the number of suppliers, e-auctions, and catalog buying. Anything to minimize time and energy spent.
So, what does this mean from a sales perspective?
When you’re selling products like for example office stationery, don’t expect a lot of time from buyers. You’ll probably struggle to make an appointment with them at all.
The best way to get a foot in the door is by suggesting a hassle-free, long-term solution allowing the buyer to spend time on topics that matter more to them.
For example, offer additional services to buyers so they have a one-stop-shop for a larger portfolio. You can even co-operate with other companies to provide this. In the example of office stationery, you could find a partner to offer printing or copier services in addition.
Another example is to offer, long-term, hassle-free deals by providing a service contract in addition to the products you sell. Manage inventory, simplify invoicing, or take over administrative processes which makes it easy for a buyer to deal with you.
The additional benefit is that the more you integrate your business with that of a customer, the more difficult it will be for them to step out. This way, you have just secured a long-term contract.
In summary, for “routine” items be creative in proposing a solution that works best for the buyer. Make life easy for them and it will be worth your while.
Happy negotiation everyone!
Then make sure you’re subscribed to the podcast so you don’t miss the rest of Mark’s series with the next part coming next Friday. Of course, you should also come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!