Staff Confidence is the Key to Business Success
The relationship between the price of a product being sold and the customer’s perceived quality depends predominantly on the person doing the selling since he or she is the primary interface between the two entities.
It is critical the salesperson is obviously knowledgeable but, maybe, more importantly, believes fundamentally in the product itself. He or she should have such presence and assurance in the way they speak to and present themselves to the customer that they create a perceived ‘need’ to be associated with the salesperson and, as such, the company and their prospective products.
This is certainly not easy to achieve, but unless your sales staff can carry themselves with confidence the customer will never distinguish you as being any different from the other suppliers offering cheaper products, no matter how good your offering is. As such, a focus on quality and confidence when presenting is primordial.
Obviously, the starting point is to have products that, in some way or other, offer an advantage over your competitors creating an added value (including brand image, technology and IP position). This is fundamental to the positioning of your company and your products and cannot be underestimated.
But how do you position this “exceptional offering” when you are having to compete with so many other manufacturers offering ‘similar’ products?
If you simply offer the cheapest prices then, not only will your products be thought of as inferior—because they are ‘cheap’—but, what is even worse, your company will be tainted too. Both will be tarred with the same brush!
A customer will always pay extra for what is perceived to be a superior offering but it is up to the salesperson to nurture this proposition. He or she should, at the very least, spend time positioning the company, talking about all the positives, explaining what differentiates your company from everybody else. This is elementary as far as sales are concerned. In my opinion, this is the key to differentiating you and your products from other competitors.
And if the customer still only wants to have the cheapest price then let them go. You do not need this business. It is likely to cause you more harm than good. Anybody customer who is so price-focused does not care what you have done to create such an awesome offering. Neither are they interested in any or all the investments you have made. Every time they return they will keep asking for lower prices.
What is the point in chasing that business? None!
The continued downward spiral leads ultimately to throwing away all the investment made trying to create exceptional products because you must now reduce the build quality in order to meet the new lower price expectations. It’s suicidal!
But do you have commercial-minded sales executives or just ‘order-takers’? Do you have ‘hunters’ or ‘farmers’? Do you have salespeople in their position simply because they are extremely polite and speak English…..?
For many of the leading manufacturers today this is arguably the weakest part of their infrastructure—sales. So many times in the past few years I have been horrified to witness how some of the leading aftermarket companies, many with exceptional positioning in the market, do not have the commercially-capable staff.
The aftermarket today is light years away from the early days of remanufacturing the CX or SX cartridges (for those of us that can remember) but how to sell and how to position a company is unchanged. If you want to have a long term, sustainable future there must be a balance between a quality offering of products and a fair market price. This goes without saying.
Do you really have the right people presenting this message to your customers and differentiating you from all the other players? ■
South Africa-based Lacey is a 30-year pioneer of the office equipment and supplies industry and is keen to introduce key global suppliers to the big buyers across the African continent. Please contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>
RT Media is partnering with Stuart Lacey to bring suppliers and buyers together in Africa.
- Staff Confidence is the Key to Business Success
- Time to Seize the Opportunity in Africa
- Striving for Into Africa
- Industry Eyes Turn to Africa
- Lacey Helps RT to Open Up Markets in Africa
- Read the full edition of RT ImagingWorld magazine —containing Stuart’s Lacey’s column.
“Staff Confidence is the Key to Business Success.” Are you employing staff who are just good at speaking English politely but have no clue about your business or its products? Add your comments below or join the LinkedIn conversation.