Monday, 9 July 2012

Sales skills beyond Price in B2B

Price is a significant factor in why a Buyer will do business with a salesperson yet it is seldom the ONLY factor.

Throughout the study of Buyers' Views of Salespeople from 1998 we have asked Buyers to consider  the last significant corporate purchase they had made and to list the top five reasons why they went with the offering.

As you can see from the table below  for 2012 by the fourth choice 80% of the poll had selected price. On a pretty much equal basis to the Product.

Examining the data a little closer what strikes one is how only 9% of the poll put PRICE as their FIRST choice. Early on in the top ranking choices Quality, Technical Specification and Brand hold stronger sway.

This is good news for the sales side if their offering if a higher priced product than the competition. What is helpful from our study is that we can perhaps suggest ideas which Salespeople can explore in order to match Buyer's needs and wants.

As can be seen when just the PRICE stats are displayed even for 13% of Buyers there will be 5 reasons ahead of PRICE which need to be elicited by the salesperson in their investigation stage of their sales process as well as price.

This shows how important questioning and listening skills are for Salespeople.

Most know the theoretical importance of questioning, they may even recognise the labels of various questioning techniques but as far as most Buyers are concerned they tell us through the research that Salespeople are generally ( the majority) only fair and poor at these  assessing skills as you can see from the pie chart below.

Of course these are only the Buyers' views but 'perception is reality'.

 As a check we also have a question in the study which asks how well buyers felt the need is matched  by sales people's offerings. You can see the  'fair'  questioning / assessing results in 'poor'  matching of needs from the buyer's viewpoint  of the salesperson's offering.

Q 10 and 11 from 2012 Buyers' views of Salespeople

The fundamental communication skills such as questioning and listening are still important therefore.

 Not only must salespeople do them well but they need to do them conversationally and convey to buyers that they questioning with skill and genuinely listening.

Such sales skills are 'beyond price' for the Salesperson !

The Buyers' views of Salespeople 2012 is to be published shortly


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