What do we expect when we buy goods or services from a supplier?
Sales people will justify the price they charge through citing quality as what customers will get for their hard earned cash. What is quality and is their definition of quality the same as their expectations? Have you ever been told by a salesperson that “we will do a bad job?”
Quality is an expectation that is a given. Therefore why do businesses make such a song and dance about it as that’s what the customer is paying for?
What customers want today is certainty. This relates to the whole sales process and in many cases customers have to fit the process of the supplier rather than the supplier fitting their process to the customer.
What is certainty and how might this be delivered. I believe we can make some assumptions around certainty which include:
The product or service will be delivered to the agreed standard
Delivery dates will be met.
Aftercare is in place to solve any issues and problems which might arise.
The issue for suppliers today is do the processes we have fit with the customer’s expectation? What flexibility have they in place to meet customer’s expectations which do not fit with their processes?
Will business be lost as a result if suppliers are unable to be flexible? What impact will failing to meet the expectations of customers and indeed their customers have on the business and indeed our customers business?
The buzz words thrown at customers and potential customers are “partnership” and “solution” but what do those mean and do customers have the same understanding of what those mean? More importantly when we speak about solution do we mean giving the customer what we want them to have or actually giving them a solution that will meet their need?
What do we need to consider when delivering certainty? There are 5 key areas which are as follows:
Customer – What do we know about them and their business drivers? Why do their customers buy from them and what certainty do they provide for their customers? How can we support them in delivering their own certainty?
Sales people need to better understand the customer, their business drivers and the impact of failing to understand or achieve the business drivers. They also should investigate the customer fully and gain an understanding of the customer’s organisation, its history and organisation to better deliver Certainty. It still surprises me when sales people are unable to provide me with any background knowledge to their customer or where they see themselves in the ladder of engagement. Mainly transacting business probably..