Why Choose You?

By Bill Farquaharson

Take time to contemplate why people are buying from you—or why they’re not.

Why do people buy from you? I would guess that you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the answer to this question. You are too busy trying to sell printing than to wonder why it goes where it goes. But I think about it all day long. Part of what I do is to peek inside the heads of my customers.

Before I give you the answers to the question, you need to think about your own personal purchasing habits. Why do you patronize vendors and merchants? Is it price? Is it convenience? Specifically, think about the salespeople you come across. What is it about them that moves you to “yes?”

Let’s say you are in the market for a new hot tub. You have spa retailer. One is the Internet. Shopping at each of the three outlets, assuming that the same models are offered and assuming that you speak to a salesperson at all three locations, what would be your buying criteria?

Purchasing, GAM’s sister magazine, asked readers to list why they choose one salesperson versus another. If guessed “price” or “delivery” or ‘quality,” guess again. Readers were more profound, and understanding their top three reasons might change your sales approach.

No. I. Selling Skills—That’s right! Buyers go with the best salesperson. They are interested in working with sales professionals who cross their professional t’s and dot their professional i’s. They want reps with good follow-up skills and who build trust and relationships.

No. 2. Product Knowledge—Next, buyers reported a desire to do business with a rep that knows his or her own product inside and out. How well do you know printing? While “I dunno” might be an acceptable response to a question when you are just starting out, it reeks of “order taker” in the years that follow, Your local print trade association has courses on the industry. You might also consider going out back and sitting next to a press for a day.

No. 3. Customer Knowledge— Finally, buyers care that you care about their industry. They report doing business with salespeople who have taken the time to learn what is important  to them.

Getting back to our hot tub example, the Internet offers myriad choices. There are pictures and prices and risk (just ask my neighbor, who bought his online and still complains about the problems he’s having).

Walking into Wal-Mart, you will find an oppressed Associate who tells you that their uncle’s id’s cousin knows someone who bought one of those hot tubs and she thinks they liked it a lot. Still, the price is fabulous.

Finally, a visit to the locally owned retailer puts you together with Steve, the sales rep. Steve asks you questions and uses his selling skills (No. 1) to better understand your needs (No. 3). Along the way, he interjects features and benefits (No. 2) to refine his recommendation. Steve is more expensive by several hundred dollars. You certainly could go back to the Internet and hold your own reverse auction or return to Wal-Mart. The question is: what value do you place on someone who solves problems? Did Steve earn your order?

There is no shortage of companies out there that will pay only the lowest price. There are even buyers who take your advice and bid it out all over town.

I am here to tell you that the “Old School” method of selling still has a ready customer. Your selling skills, product knowledge and ability to understand customer needs will be rewarded. Your challenge is to find him or her (Did von notice that all three criteria are within your control?)


Why choose You – Sales Call