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The Secret to Effectively Selling to Purchasing Managers
Connecting with purchasing managers and making sales can be tricky, but with some preparation and the right approach you can communicate the value you bring to the table and close the deal.
The sales process continues to evolve, as prospects have greater access to information both on the web and through sharing product recommendations on social networks. In such a climate, it’s important to develop an approach that cuts through the noise by demonstrating a clear value proposition. While price remains an important factor in any sale, purchasing managers are increasingly looking at a variety of factors in making their decisions, including such areas as product sourcing and ethical concerns.
The most important aspect of any product, however, is how it can solve the problems of your customers. Selling to purchase managers means helping them map out a business case that features your product as a central component. In such cases, you should emphasize how the product fits into their long-term success. Ultimately you must sell the value, and not the price, of the product. Let’s take a more detailed look at how to use this strategy.
In today’s sales environment, purchase managers often take a cynical tack and can be dismissive of differentiation between you and your competitors’ products. They take this approach in order to see if a given product really does provide added value. When confronted with this attitude, it’s important for sales representative to provide clear and specific information about how a product is a better value. Let purchasing managers know they may find a cheaper option, but not a better option. Explaining why can mean the difference between closing a sale and letting it slip away.
Understanding Pain Points
A product’s value is closely connected to how it solves the problems that a purchasing manager has on their mind. In any sales situation, the representative should be well-versed in how the product can address their customers pain points. This starts with research about the organization and its culture, and should include asking questions that help determine their goals and expectations. If a business has slim margins and relies mainly on volume, a sale based on value and quality may be difficult. On the other hand, businesses that rely on their reputation would be a better target for a value-based sales approach. In all cases, though, the value must be closely linked to how a business operates. The reputation of a product manufacturer is important.
The Purchase Manager’s Perspective
Understanding the purchase manager perspective is also essential to effectively selling them. It involves understanding how the product fits within their organization. How will affect how they do business? An effective product representative will customize their sales pitches to the specific way a business will use the product. Tailoring the benefits to help meet their challenges is a good way of building rapport.
Furthermore, in many cases, the purchase manager may have to discuss a potential buying decision with a large number of stakeholders within their organization. A salesperson must not only convince them of the benefit of a product, but must also give the purchase manager the tools and talking points they need to convince others in the organization of the product’s benefits. Therefore, selling must take into account all decision-making processes and tailor the approach accordingly. It’s wise to ask a purchase manager about any possible impediments within their organization and come up with messaging that will resonate with all decision-making stakeholders.
Sales representatives will often encounter purchasing managers who have already researched numerous options for a particular product and want to focus purely on price. In such situations, it’s important to shift the conversation. While price is always an important factor, choosing higher quality products can have significant positive effects on the bottom line. Sales representatives should focus on the added value of a product produced to higher quality levels.
The secret to effective selling is that the value of the product can be more important than its price. The products you are trying to sell are not a simple commodities that can be obtained from the cheapest seller. Instead, each version of the product – but especially the one you’re selling – has some unique value based on how it was produced and to what precise specifications. If an industrial fabric has higher resistance to both tearing and element exposure, then the products that are made from it will carry these properties onward. That’s why overall product value is so important.
How do you lock in the sale when negotiating with penny-pinching purchasing managers? Get the answers in our new eBook Play to Win: Tips for Negotiating With Purchasing Managers.