Forget tough! Today, competition is fierce! There are more competitors offering more choices and more ways to purchase. Customers are more demanding and have higher expectations. There's greater price resistance to overcome. Profit margins are slimmer and buying decisions take longer.
These challenges hold true for business owners and sales reps in every industry, but it is especially challenging for those in manufacturing and mold building. This sector has been hardest hit by foreign competition and the economic downturn, but there are ways to better your chances of survival and success.
Change Your Question and Your Focus
The question moldmakers should be asking is "What can I do to help my company and my customer's company?" Then, you must focus honing your selling skills to bring a higher level of industry expertise to the table, and provide a higher level of service in every aspect of the business process.
At the End of Your Sales Call, Where Do You Stand?
Here's a scenario: You had several customer visits this week and you are predicting the likelihood of closing each opportunity. If only you could know where you stand. Here are questions to help you determine your likelihood of getting an order:
- Did you speak to the decision maker?
- Did you work hard to develop a relationship with the decision maker before the sale?
- Did you help them prior to your visit, even when there was nothing in it for you?
- Did you ask questions and listen before you started talking about what you can do for them?
- Did you ask about their buying criteria?
- Did you ask about their problems and know their budget?
- Did you show a genuine interest in helping them?
- Did your words convey confidence and trust?
Hopefully, you answered yes to all of these. Now, here are questions to ask that go deeper:
- Did you assemble the resources you needed to close your sale and ask for the commitment? For example, did you come armed not only with equipment and moldmaking expertise, but with success stories from happy customers?
- Did you communicate your value proposition and explain why you are better than your competition?
- Did you communicate real world proof of why you are better, and how you have helped others?
- Did you share success stories from satisfied customers and provide customer testimonials?
- Did you offer finance solutions?
If you sell equipment, partner with a reputable finance company and help your customer receive the money they need to grow their business. Find a finance company who knows your company and who will work with you to help your customer obtain financing. Many leasing companies offer flexibility to structure leases tailored to meet your customers specific requirements. Consider including a lease quote with every proposal. It may make your solution more competitive. Discussing leasing throughout the sales cycle also will help you qualify your prospect during each step of the sale.
Whether you are selling or buying equipment, leasing is beneficial because it:
- Preserves your borrowing capacity
- Improves your return on assets and equity while reducing your debt
- Removes assets from your balance sheet
- Obtains 100 percent financing
- Optimizes tax benefits
- Upgrades more freely
- Obtains market-specific financing
- Accesses a broad range of equipment at competitive prices
- Acquires profit-making tools you might not otherwise be able to afford
Who Will Be Left Standing?
Helping your customers with financing is just one way to help them grow their business and provides a value-added service. Do all you can to help your customer's business, deliver what you promise and exceed expectations in every way possible. Then, you will still be left standing.