Showing posts with label Relationship selling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Relationship selling. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lying To Your Customers, In Industrial Selling

           Is lying to your customer justified in Industrial Selling? Why not? people think and reason. In the FMCG line, people do it all the time in product advertisements. So, why not in Industrial goods and Capital Equipment? Moreover, we are talking about a few white lies here and there. What is so wrong in it? 

     Sorry for doing it this way but lying in Industrial Selling is simply N-O-T A-C-C-E-P-T-A-B-L-E. The big deal here is that lying and sales have become so intertwined that customers simply add safety periods on to time periods being given to them. And, I talk here in case of both Internal Customers and External Customers. In a business organization, all the people to whom a person gives out information are its customers. For example, assembly gives out information to dispatch as to when an order will be ready which gives information to dispatch which gives information to Sales regarding a dispatch. Thus, dispatch is the customer of assembly and sales is the customer of dispatch, they are Internal Customers. Sales passes on the information to the External Customer. The information flow  in many organizations is everything but the truth. Therefore, the salesperson's information is bound to be a distortion too. The difference is that all these negative points are filed in the customer's mind. When the next sales chance comes up, it becomes that much difficult for the salesperson to apply his organization's competitive edge as that has been worn away to some extent because of these distortions or lies along the product chain. There is one way in which this can be minimized and that is by progress posting online in the company's own servers or using cloud servers. Each and every point or station needs to have its on-line progress posting which should be accessible to the relevant departments. In any case, the sales person should not lie in such cases but tell the truth. He should not make any confirmations unless he is sure of what he is confirming.

     This is the main area i.e. post sales before delivery periods that such things happen. One great thing about telling the truth is that in 90% cases, your relation with the customer will not be affected. In fact, the customer's dependability on you will go up when they realize that you can be relied upon to give an accurate picture of what is happening. The primary objective of a salesperson should be to build up relations with the customer, for it is only relationship selling that is going to mater in the coming future. If you do not know, what relationship selling is or unsure, you can take a look at what this blog has said about relationship selling in past posts. Just do not bring up that much abused word "next week" when the customer asks you when he can expect his delayed shipment. Just say " you do not know" and ask for time to give an accurate position to the much stressed customer.

    Lying is mainly post-sale lying that we are talking about here. Pre-sale lying becomes redundant if you have good product knowledge. If you are not sure about something, tell the customer that you want to check it up and ask him for time. In many cases, you'll be surprised at how easily you get the time. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What is Relationship Selling? [REPOST]

           Today in the capital equipment and machinery market, business volume is growing and so are the  targets. But, you know that you have a plum  order from the "nice customer is all yours”.  Then one day, you go to your customer one fine morning, after several weeks, and ask him  about “my order” 
[ look at the arrogance] .And he says  “Oh that order, it went to the competition Ltd”.." I thought that you weren't interested and my boss was asking about it" . Your card castles collapse as you realize  that the order is lost forever-the one high value order on which your target was built up on...sounds familiar? 

Later on, after you finish berating your juniors and your boss stops berating you; you realize that you never had a relationship with the customer at all. This is an example of what-not-to- do in relationship selling. Do not take anyone for granted! In our line (high value engineering equipment selling) it makes you redundant and in our race (homo-sapiens)it leads to your extinction

Say, you are looking over 20 accounts, do an accounts versus sales analysis. You will find that at the most 5 or 6 account for 70% to 75% of your sale. You try to find out how many visits you made this year in 7 months, and it so turns out that you made only 1 visit, because you thought that would buy only from you. In addition, you tried to sell to the 15 customers who give you maximum 25% of the sales. What foolishness! What audacity! You took your customer for granted and that is never done!

In relationship selling, you make a relation with the customer’s key man. He may not be the person who signs the order but it is his decision, all the way. Develop a professional relationship with him. Tell the truth to him and no bullshit please. Tell him that you want the order but you also want to have a seller-buyer relation with him, so that it’s not one way traffic.
You try to help him in whatever way possible. You offer suggestions, which can help the customer increase his productivity. At first, the customer may be suspicious but later he will realize that you are sincere and honest. He will trust you although he may not trust your product. If that happens, you have to hard sell him (or her) and you should be able to do what you promise. Visit him once a week-fortnight.  This gentleman or lady then will be your friend come hell or high water. It’s you he will trust and your word will be the last word on the subject. You are your customer's default Purchase Manager.

Build up your relationships today, all in your major revenue-earning customers, and you will not regret it no matter which company you represent, in the future. If you have a good product, the customer will buy it just because you are selling it. Hard to believe, but this is true folks. I have done it myself. There are exceptions to every rule. If you are selling swords to Atilla-the –Hun, then maybe it will not be wise to have a close relationship.

With price becoming so competitive and quality being measured in microns, the day is not far away when your relation will count. Build win-win relationships with your customers, and not only will you get the business, but you will also gain a friend. This is the magic of relationship selling.

I know a gentleman (very senior) who is now in IOCL Gujarat Refinery. We still keep in touch. And I know that if I go to him with a proposal, he will consider it, because he will be sure that what I propose is a win-win thing.

This post is so important that it doesn't matter how many times I repeat it.
Taking your leave for now,
Your friendly neighborhood blogger

Tuesday, April 01, 2014


Industrial Selling is a different cup of tea in India than in the West. Here reject RFQ's at your own peril.

  I read Geoffrey James’s article titled “How to give the customer a price quote”  and it’s really   a fine piece of sales writing. I wanted to write something else this week.But then I thought about all those young kids, in sales and   marketing, the newbies and the almost-s all over the immense country and I changed my mind. (In Kolkata its 39 o Celsius plus in the shade in March, so I can just think about Chennai.In India, you don't get AC cars to zip to on sales calls in junior levels, so I decided to write this blog post instead).Apologies Geoff, but that kind of selling will not get you anywhere in INDIA. Sure, the track is right but your direction is all wrong, my friend. Just my 5cents but you need the culture shock absorber.

        In India, you have a system of budgetary quotes and firm quotes. Now, I am sure that there must be a system of budgetary quotes in the West too, you just use a term for it, which I am not familiar with.Anyway, some of the biggest requirements come from the Public Sector Organizations(e.g.IOCL the only Indian company which is in the Fortune 500, if I'm not wrong). In a sort of matrix cum pyramidal structure, you have many different departments. For instance Engineering Services (ES) and Maintenance are different departments and you can have business with both as the ES as well as the M.M(mechanical maintenance) as the former goes in for the projects and the latter, the after sales part of the business. Say, you are selling pumps for intake, the concerned in Indian Oil Corp Ltd dept is Power and Utilities.(In other organizations, it may be different). From my experience I can say that if you get a RFQ from such a department, DO NOT EVEN THINK of calling the boss in the department. See who has signed the RFQ and if you find say its a Purchase Manager or even an Asst Manager, from Operations, your stand is vindicated. It is a must to quote but a little later.

              The chances are high that if you call up the boss, he will have an even less idea of his requirement then you. Your best bet is the original sender, although he is in no way the final decision maker. In Govt. organizations, there is no final decision maker and that is the way it should be. The operations man wants to buy the things he has mentioned but as he is the one doing the legwork, he's got no authority. Say you are pissed off and do not quote, you may have unquoted yourself out of a job. These guys are good at selecting the equipment type but they need to have an estimate of the cost.That's because proposals beyond 10-15% variation are shot down by the finance guys. Before your lips start curling in derision, let me tell you some of India's most talented engineer's are these.They think of everything too help you, and they don't give you any advantage. You need to have relationship selling experiences with them for the best results