Selling products to a specific industry is a business-to-business (B2B) type of selling, not retail selling. Although some of the principles of B2B selling are similar to retail selling, most are very different.
Principles Common to Both B2B and Retail Selling
- Satisfying your customers’ needs
- Treating your customers with respect
- Knowing your products’ features and benefits
- Being a good listener
- Following corporate guidelines
Key Differentiators for B2B Selling
- A sales rep must be a consultant and problem solver. More than being knowledgeable about your products is required. You must listen to customers’ needs, then show how your products and services
… Read the rest
The professional sales representative is continually seeking better ways to manage his customers to maximize sales. How do you know which customers to call on, when and how often? How do you stay organized amid your phone calls, sales visits, paperwork and planning? Managing your customers is not complicated. It takes organizing and time management skills to develop a plan suitable to meet your sales goals. Finally, it requires a focus, and personal commitment to follow the plan.
Have you ensured your pathway to maximize sales success? Here are 10 proven ideas to manage customers and maximize sales.
1. Organizing … Read the rest
A significant challenge for an independent manufacturers’ representative is satisfying the needs of many different customers. Your objective is to become a preferred product representative for each of them.
These customers include architects and engineers who specify your products; general contractors, construction managers and subcontractors who purchase your products; and your manufacturers’ marketing and customer service departments that provide you with sales support. We will look at how you can work effectively with each of these customer groups to become preferred.
Architects and Engineers (A/E)
Although every customer is important, one group, for example, requires the most attention and service … Read the rest
A strong personal relationship is one in which the customer fully trusts and likes the architectural sales representative (ASR), whether they are a direct hire employee or an independent manufacturers’ representative.
The customer is interested in a partnership that is equally valuable to him and to the manufacturer the ASR represents. For any product or group of products, the customer is willing to give most or all his business to that manufacturer.
There is a perception today among many in the commercial architectural products marketplace that personal relationships in selling are less important today than in years past. Information is … Read the rest
The primary goal of any sales organization is to continually increase sales. Every customer, no matter how large or small, is important and must be properly serviced, but not all customers are equal. How do you use your sales time most efficiently? One way is by classifying customers.
In most cases, 80 percent of your sales are generated from 20 percent of your customers. To properly classify customers, the sales potential for every customer must be evaluated. Customer classification should be done every year because a customer’s volume and their potential to grow is not constant. Customers can move from … Read the rest
Part II: Building for the Long Term
An independent manufacturers’ representative must maintain strong relationships with the principals they represent to be successful and profitable. Part one covered the first four tactics a rep should always remember: Agree on a fair contract, maintain regular communication, the rep‑principal relationship, and treat the customer service group as a customer. This article will cover the remaining four.
Follow Company Procedures
This concept can present a challenge for a rep, particularly if some company procedures are out of line with the procedures and principles of the rep’s organization. Following company procedures is part of … Read the rest
Part I: Tactics to Bring You Closer
An independent manufacturers’ representative must maintain strong relationships with the principals they represent to be successful and profitable. This relationship is critically important with primary principals whose product sales represent a large share of a rep’s business, yet it is also important to build relationships with those secondary, smaller manufacturers, whose products are complementary to the primary principals.
A strategy for building these principal relationships needs to be developed and maintained.
To be smart, any independent manufacturers’ representative should always remember the following tactics:
- Agree on a fair contract.
- Maintain regular communication.
… Read the rest
A successful sales representative must be an efficient manager of time, whether they are a direct hire or an independent manufacturers’ representative. Time is a sales representative’s major asset, so they must optimize their time to be a sales leader. Efficient time management requires planning.
An efficient time management system begins with an Annual Marketing Plan that includes broad objectives that are in tune and coordinated with a corporate plan. Using this broad plan, the time management system then incorporates prioritized daily, weekly and monthly planning lists. Each list has a similar format with the daily list having the most … Read the rest
In the construction industry, it seems more and more communications are by email, whether conversations are interoffice, between companies, or by sales teams with customers. Using primarily email communication may seem to make us more efficient, but that assumption may not hold water.
Our inboxes are swamped. One study indicated that the average person across all industries receives an average of 115 emails per day. The study indicated that 57 percent of people do not even read all their emails! Many are simply trashed. How efficient is that?
The use of primarily email communication is led by millennials, … Read the rest