Monday, 20 June 2011

Don't forget it is also about saving money

One of my strongest memories as a Junior Sales Representative (a long time ago, in a galaxy far away) was a prospect's reaction to a sales proposal that I thought was absolutely compelling.

The system I sold at the time was a direct replacement for an old piece of equipment that my prospect had been running for over 10 years. The job the kit did was critical to my prospect's manufacturing process and I knew that we had a higher specification and were 10% less expensive than any of the competition. The prospect actually confirmed to me that these two facts were absolutely correct - we were better and cheaper.

However, his next question did not seem to make any sense to me. "How much money will it save me?" In my naivety, I pointed out to him that he had to replace an existing piece of equipment and that we were "better and cheaper" than the competition. Where had the notion of saving money come from? Needless to say I lost the deal. At that early stage in my career, I had not yet realised that however much apparent "upside" there may be for a purchase from a need, demand or performance perspective, people also want to save money. Just because someone needs to buy something, does not remove the desire to also save money.

I subsequently learnt that the company who won the business showed how their system would allow two of my prospect's current workforce to be diverted onto other manufacturing tasks for 60% of their time (it was how they justified the purchase). This was exactly the same as we could have achieved, but I never told him! I believed that if he was buying a replacement the only consideration would be "better and cheaper".

These days I still come across salespeople who are in denial about the need to also save money and often try to avoid the subject. Think about how you can save your client money and get it into your sales 'mix'. As I learnt a long time ago, its often how they will justify the purchase.

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