Customer Relationships and Selling Strategies – Principles of Marketing
Customers Secondary decision makers Company support staff Management personnel 3. Why is partnering described as the highest-quality selling relationship. Why is partnering described as the highest-quality selling relationship? Why has the building of partnerships become more important today?. processes can enhance your relationship strategy • Identify and describe the Partnering—the highest-quality selling relationship • Relationship strategies.
Generally speaking, however, all marketers are interested in developing stronger relationships with large customers. Because serving one large customer can often be more profitable than serving several smaller customers, even when the large customer receives quantity discounts. Serving many small customers—calling on them, processing all their orders, and dealing with any complaints—is time consuming and costs money.
To illustrate, consider the delivery process. Delivering a large load to one customer can be accomplished in just one trip. By contrast, delivering smaller loads to numerous customers will require many more trips. Marketers, therefore, want bigger, more profitable customers. Big box retailers such as Home Depot and Best Buy are examples of large customers that companies want to sell to because they expect to make more profit from the bigger sales they can make. Marketers also want stronger relationships with customers who are innovative, such as lead users.
Similarly, marketers seek out customers with status or who are recognized by others for having expertise. For example, Holt Caterpillar is a Caterpillar construction equipment dealer in Texas and is recognized among Caterpillar dealers for its innovativeness.
When Holt buys or tries something new and it works, other Cat dealers are quick to follow. Some companies are reaching out to opinion leaders in an attempt to create stronger relationships. For example, JCPenney uses e-mail and Web sites to form relationships with opinion leaders who will promote its products. Salespeople are also tasked with maintaining relationships with market influencers who are not their customers.
Thus, Gros needs to maintain relationships with both groups. Types of Sales Relationships Think about the relationships you have with your friends and family. Most relationships operate along a continuum of intimacy or trust. The more you trust a certain friend or family member, the more you share intimate information with the person, and the stronger your relationship is. The relationships between salespeople and customers are similar to those you have, which range from acquaintance to best friend see Figure Somewhere in between are functional and affiliative relationships that may look like friendships.
At one end of the spectrum are transactional relationships; each sale is a separate exchange, and the two parties to it have little or no interest in maintaining an ongoing relationship. You just want the best price. If one of these companies went out of business, you would simply do business with another. Functional relationships are limited, ongoing relationships that develop when a buyer continues to purchase a product from a seller out of habit, as long as her needs are met.
If this gas station goes out of business, you will be more likely to feel inconvenienced.
Relationships – The Key to Increasing Sales
MRO maintenance, repair, and operations items, such as such as nuts and bolts used to repair manufacturing equipment are often sold on the basis of functional relationships. There are small price, quality, and services differences associated with the products. By sticking with the product that works, the buyer reduces his costs. Affiliative selling relationships are more likely to occur when the buyer needs a significant amount of expertise needed from the seller and trust is an issue.
This level of commitment is often likened to a marriage. For example, GE manufactures the engines that Boeing uses in the commercial planes it makes. Both companies work together to advance the state of engine technology because it gives them both an edge. Every time Boeing sells an airplane, GE sells one or more engines. A more fuel-efficient or faster engine can mean more sales for Boeing as well as GE.
As a result, the engineers and other personnel from both companies work very closely in an ongoing relationship. GE works together with Boeing to integrate the new engines into s. Going back to the value equation, in a transactional relationship, the buyer calculates the value gained after every transaction. As the relationship strengthens, value calculations become less transaction oriented and are made less frequently. There will be times when either the buyer or the seller engages in actions that are not related directly to the sale but that make the relationship stronger.
For example, a GE engineer may spend time with Boeing engineers simply educating them on a new technology. No specific sale may be influenced, but the relationship is made stronger by delivering more value. Note that these types of relationships are not a process—not every relationship starts at the transactional level and moves through functional and affiliative to strategic.
Nor is it the goal to make every relationship a strategic partnership. There are essentially four selling strategies: Script-Based Selling Salespeople memorize and deliver sales pitches verbatim when they utilize a script-based selling strategy. Script-based selling is also called canned selling. Companies like National Cash Register NCR realized that some salespeople were far more effective than others, so they brought those salespeople into the head office and had them give their sales pitches.
Today, the company is a major seller of not only cash registers but also many other products, such as the scanner shown here, which you may see in a grocery or clothing store.
Even if they do, a script can provide a salesperson with a polished and professional description of how an offering meets each of their needs.
The salesperson will ask the customer a few questions to uncover his or her need, and then provides the details that meet it as spelled out in the script. Scripts also ensure that the salesperson includes all the important details about a product. This form of selling works best if the needs of customers vary, but the products being offered are fairly standard.
The salesperson asks questions to understand the needs then presents a solution. SPIN stands for situation questions, problem questions, implications, and needs-payoff, four types of questions that are designed to fully understand how a problem is creating a need. For example, you might wander onto a car lot with a set of needs for a new vehicle. Someone else might purchase the same vehicle but for an entirely different set of reasons.
Creating Value with a Relationship Strategy
The effective salesperson would ask you a few questions, determine what your needs are, and then offer you the right vehicle, emphasizing those points that meet your needs best. How exactly are they hurting you? More on how to overcome that challenge in a moment. Your likeability and your ability to form strong relationships quickly will be more effective than all the credentials in the world or even having the lowest price.
Instead of viewing prospects as transactional customers that you sell to once, you view them as partners in a long-term selling relationship. Partnering is the highest quality selling relationship. There are three keys to a partnering relationship: By demonstrating over time how you can support your customers in solving their problems, you will never sell another day in your life.
Referrals also carry a high degree of credibility. So they end up waiting by the phone or checking their email in hopes of getting referral business. Hope is not a strategy. So what can you do right away to get more referrals? Ask your current clients. Ask your former clients.
Ask prospects who turned you down.