Part 61: Be a Profit Center to Your Client – How Small & Mid Sized Companies Grow

Are you focusing in on providing the least expensive product or service to your prospects and clients instead of providing them with a proposition that increases their profits at your expense? It’s very easy to cut your prices to meet the competition, or at lease what your customers tell you your competitors are charging. It is much harder to switch the topic to not what you may or may not be charging vis a vis the competition, to rather how much more money you can save your customer then some one else. This however takes sales skills as opposed to that of an order taker. Anyone can get an order by giving away the store, it takes a sales professional to understand the needs and requirements of the customer and provide that to them, so it becomes a win-win proposition where both entities can make money. It should not be in the interest of the customer to bankrupt one of their vendors, but rather increase their own profits, but all too often left to their own devises that is what they might accomplish. It is like the thoughtless fishermen who trolls the water for every last fish and wonders why there is no catch next year, or who does not make use of the by products of the catch that are not eaten.

If you are selling to procurement, whose only purpose is to get the lowest possible price regardless of the consequences to the rest of the organization, you might have tough times as they are rewarded at your expense. Your job is to find someone who understands the concept of maximizing their own profits instead of minimizing yours. This might be the CFO, COO, CEO or department head. It then becomes your job to find out where the inefficiencies, problems, bottleneck and other needs are that you can use your services to help your customer improve their performance, which may be more profitable to your client then if you just cut your prices.

To do this will require an understanding of how your customers operate, the problems they have and finding out how you can provide a solution that transcends price. No company operates flawlessly, it is your task to develop a relationship through sufficient credibility and knowledge on your part so that your customer will take you into their confidence so you can actually help them by doing something else then lowing your prices. There may be delivery, service or quality issues, guarantees, volume discounts, value added service, relationships you have with other vendors for integrated solutions, or dozens of needs both known to the customer or unknown that you can uncover for them that will allow you to increase their profit as hence your own. Remember people like to do business with people they like. Get them to bond and like you; share their problems with you and in turn you may be able to increase their bottom line.

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