EXCEEDING CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS
CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT--STRATEGIC PLAN FOR GROWTH
SELLERS PLAN/ BUYER(S) EXPECTATIONS
Organizations that are successful in being awarded business and repeat business excel in the development, implementation, and execution of a strategic customer business plan. Providing a value price, specified quality, and asking for the order accounts for only 5% of the interaction between seller and buyer. The following represents an overall strategic business relationship between your organization and your customer(s). A long term business best practice model consists of the following and must be executed at all levels within your organization. This becomes part of your business culture:
A. Understand and Demonstrate Knowledge of:
Do you know the following about your customer?
- Your customer(s) business by sku and overall product mix/assortment
- Your customer(s) competition by sku and overall product mix/assortment
- The buyer(s) financial reward system
- The buyer(s) decision making process mix, frt, min/max levels of inventory, Environmental or Sustainability policy part of organization
- The value your product(s) and your organization will provide to the customer(s)
- The in store or facility service requirements
- The back end retail sku layout/plan o gram process, specific to retailers
- The SOQ (suggested order quantity) process, specific to retailers
- The teaching, training, and development requirements of the store/facility selling staff
- The marketing and advertising process
Now that you have established this knowledge and understanding utilize:
B. Professional Selling Skills
Execution: How well are you doing against these and other parameters/metrics?
- Develop a relationship with the buyer, the buyer’s assistant, and their boss
- Develop and present a win/win proposal where both parties are rewarded in sales, profits, and high turnover utilizing the understanding of the above
- Negotiate from strength (buyers do not respect wimps-they do not have time)
- Present the product(s) and organizations value
- Ask all the right questions for greater understanding to clarify the business relationship
- As a seller you want all the business, rather ask for business that will build for a larger % and where you can demonstrate your ability to satisfy the buyers sales projections and your ability to produce/market your product without barriers
- Provide the buyer with reasons to award you his/her business with additional services such as samples, singage, in store merchandising. POP. promotions, special packaging
- Acknowledge and accept the RTV process (this will come up)
- Provide examples of best practices in sales, merchandising, store set plan o grams to drive sales
- No BS. Be professional, transparent, and to the point. (Buyers have no time for flash!!)
Now that you have established an understanding of the customers business and through utilizing professional selling skills and have been awarded the business, what next?
Have you developed, implemented, and ready to execute the following?
- Fill EACH AND EVERY ORDER 100% full and deliver 100% on time (per the agreed upon Vendor Buying Agreement-VBA-which was agreed upon during the negotiation phase or manufactures agreement
- GSD -Get stuff done- when needed without delay
- Follow up to buyer/assistant needs- asap
- Response to issues-everyone makes mistakes-those who respond asap to a store/facility or buyers needs without BS usually continues to be rewarded the business
- Open communications-your customer needs to know that they can call you anytime/any day for assistance. (yes on weekends if needed) embrace this type of communication
- In store or facility walks and follow up on inventory mix, sales, customer feedback, store sets, potential new business opportunities, this cannot be done from a desk
- No excuses-"the customer is always right". Communicate on a regular basis-do not be a ghost!
- Pomote additional sales opportunities-pros, industiral type customers
- Inspect what you expect, thus have new proposal(s) ready if needed ( do not become a desk jockey)
- Execute at every level-product consistent quality, packaging, upc’s, teaching-training-development of store/facility sales associates
Each business, a retailer, manufacture, wholesale distributor, B2B business is different and has various and specific needs. The steps above will clarify your ability to secure a long term standing strategic business relationship with all types of customers. In order to have a sustainable relationship with a customer the next step is “How do we make all this happen”? Sales and profit, along with other financial matric components establish benchmarks. Your ability to create greater market share, more sales, more profits and a healthy balance sheet far beyond where you are today is the final step of execution:
D. Course of Action (timeline-resources-roles/responsibilities)
Steve Conwell, President of IBIS CONSULTING, LLC has been on both sides of the negotiating table as a seller and a buyer. Ask yourself, as well as your customer, how well are you now executing these for maximum excellence with your customer. The above steps represent a roadmap to follow. Steve will provide a detailed course of action which is specific to your business (approach and service) of all the How To’s toward success being awarded current, new, and repeat business that are profitable and align with your business model. Go to www.ibisconsultingllc.com for additional details and review all pages and dropdowns.