Customers frequently think you only provide the products or services that they originally bought. Your customers’ needs change over time. It is important to let your customers know you are listening to how they are changing and are responding accordingly. Some companies broaden their product lines while others add services to their products.
Your primary client contact may not be the right person to purchase your expanded offerings. This now calls for you to reevaluate who can buy or authorize the purchase of your expanded products and services. You may have to potentially build relationships with others in the customer’s organization.
Prior to approaching the higher level buyer, take time to reflect on the following:
What do you want the customer to buy?
What products or services would be applicable to their organization? Talk to those who should know.
- Your sales people
- Your customer service people
- Customer contacts
- Non-competitive suppliers to the customers you want to reach
- Other people you know who currently do business with this customer
What could you offer customers that your competitors don’t offer? Consider one or more of the following
- Consulting services
- Complementary products
- Customer/user training
Why should a customer buy from your company? Identify what sets you apart from your competition:
- Your expertise
- The breath of your products and services
- Superior customer service
- Your industry knowledge
- Your understanding of the changing requirements of your customer
- Knowledge of what is important to the buyer
- Your other industry or community connections that could be helpful to customers
What organizational changes are needed to attract more business?
- Upgrade or modify technology
- Implement new processes and procedures
- Use your staff in different ways
- Train staff
- Hire new expertise
Who makes the decision to buy from you?
The larger the prospective client, the more likely multiple contacts are included in the decision making process. Ideally, you want to start by engaging the senior leader who makes decisions in the area which buys your products or services. Imagine yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Look at the customer’s business model and try to determine how they make money. Look at your own products and services and decide how your products and services can help the customer’s senior executive achieve success.
Be prepared for the senior leader to suggest that you contact someone within the organization to discuss your features and benefits. Your sales people need to understand which features and benefits are relevant to each person they contact.
Understanding these items helps you create or purchase the product or service offerings which have the best potential to expand your business.
Many business owners don’t have the time or resources to focus on expanding their product and service offerings. If you encounter a company that fits this profile, we’d like to talk with them. We can help them build business that complements where they are already successful. This will help propel their growth to the next stage.
What are your thoughts?