Life in the US is looking like it’s returning to normal. Restaurants are opening, movie theaters, too. Travel for business and pleasure is picking up. People seem a bit more relaxed as the social restrictions are lifted. So that’s all great. But did you hear about the container ship blocking the Suez Canal? How about all those companies with supply chains spread over the world? Ships are in short supply and there are not enough containers. Demand is up but the capability to supply product is in trouble. And there is buyer stress all over the place. What’s a great salesperson to do?
Be Customer Focused
Great salespeople put the customer first. They are always in communication with the customer to understand their needs and problems. Some customers are going gangbusters. The demand for their products is high but the challenge is getting the material needed to meet the demand. Be honest. Buyers need salespeople with integrity. Someone they can trust. If you can’t meet the demand tell them then help them find another source. Or maybe an alternate product. Or offer to change the mode of shipment. Perhaps you are a supplier to retail stores. Be listening to your customers about product demand. Then pass the information on to operations so they can shift product mix. By being customer focused you reduce buyer stress.
Anticipate Buyer Stress
When demand is high and the supply chain for a company is challenged, buyers feel the stress. Everybody in the buyer’s organization is after buyers to keep the production lines running or the store shelves stocked. Great salespeople are empathetic. Understand the role of the buyer and their stress during this disrupted time. Being proactive with your customers to offer solutions to anticipated problems. Great salespeople have an intimate understanding of their customers and the markets they are in. So be creative with your solutions. Understand the budget constraints may have changed. Buyers are looking for any help they can get. So go forth be a hero and help the buyer save his company. And remember a buyer under stress acts differently than when times are calm. Empathize with their frustration and remember not to take effects of buyer stress personally.
Look To The Future
Once upon a time just-in-time inventory management was key. Make sure everything showed up when needed to keep inventory costs low. That worked until the supply chain was broken. What’s a salesperson to do? Think about those buyers who were always challenging you to find a way to reduce the price. So you found suppliers who could make it cheaper. And the buyer was happy. They got the quality they wanted at a price they could pay. But they forgot about the risk. It’s true buyers want the lowest price, the highest quality and the best service. But great salespeople know they can deliver only two of the three wants. Now is the time to help your customers understand the risk of lowest price. Maybe shortening supply lines would increase the cost of the product? But they would still have the parts needed to make product to meet demand of their customers. How would that benefit the buyer’s company? As a trusted salesperson your wisdom and guidance can help a customer avoid the problems of today by looking forward. And reduce buyer stress.
What You Can Do Right Now To Reduce Buyer Stress
- Be in touch with your customers
- Understand their pain
- Use your creativity to help them now and for the future
To learn more sales secrets see Chapter Seven, Understanding Buyer Behavior, in Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling. For even more sales encouragement, join our FREE Sales Club! “See” you next week.