Written by Sean McPheat |
29 May, 2009
Order Taker? Trusted Advisor? Or Cheese Monster?
From the customer’s point of view there are 4 types of relationships that they have with their suppliers.
And if you can progress through each of the stages I’m about to describe below you can really make a huge difference to their business and your own profits!
STAGE 1 – THE ORDER TAKER
If they view you as just an order taker then price sensitivity will be very high indeed and their loyalty to you and your products and services will be zero.
Price will be the major factor.
STAGE 2 – THIRD PARTY SUPPLIER
To your customers you offer a good range of products and services and there are some other benefits that come along with it to.
You’re still classed as a vendor though and the deal is a business transaction rather than a business relationship.
STAGE 3 – THE VALUE ADDED SALES PERSON
You are there for your customers and you add value by helping your customers with more than what is expected.
You’re still viewed as a vendor but one that is top of the list.
STAGE 4 – TRUSTED ADVISOR
This is ideally the position you want to be in.
The customer views you as an extension to their business and a part of their business.
Usually, you are able to offer higher prices because you deliver the goods both directly and indirectly. The customer calls you to sound you out on ideas and whatever you say, goes a lot of the time!
This is the key for building long-term relationships.
So where are you on this ladder and what can you do to progress through the stages?
The Sales Jedi