How to be a Profit Center to Your Client

Are you focused on providing the least expensive product or service to your prospects and clients instead of providing a proposition that increases their profits? It’s very easy to cut your prices to meet the competition — or at least what your customers tell you your competitors are charging. It is much harder to switch the topic from how your prices compare with the competition’s to how much more money you can save your customer. This takes sales skills as opposed to just taking orders.

Anyone can get an order by giving away the store. However, it takes a sales professional to understand the needs and requirements of the customer and provide a win-win proposition where both entities can make money. It should not be in the interest of the customer to bankrupt one of their vendors to increase their own profits, but all too often that is what they might accomplish. It is like the thoughtless fishermen who trolls the water for every last fish and wonders why there is no catch next year, or fails to make use of the by-products of the catch that are not eaten.

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If you are selling to procurement, beware that their primary purpose is to get the lowest possible price regardless of the consequences to the rest of the organization and they may be rewarded at your expense. Your job is to find someone who understands the concept of maximizing their own profits instead of minimizing yours. This might be the CFO, COO, CEO or department head. It then becomes your job to find out where the inefficiencies, problems, bottlenecks and other needs are. Then you can use your services to help your customer improve their performance, which may be more profitable to your client then if you just cut your prices.

This requires an understanding of how your customers operate and the problems they have, and then finding a way to provide a solution that transcends price. No company operates flawlessly. It is your task to develop a relationship thorough demonstrated credibility and knowledge so that your customer will take you into their confidence. Then you can actually help them in ways that don’t include lowering your prices.

There may be delivery, service or quality issues, guarantees, volume discounts, value-added service, relationships you have with other vendors for integrated solutions, or dozens of other needs that you can fill for your customer that will allow you to increase their profit as well as your own.

Remember, people like to do business with people they likeBuild a relationship in which they can share their problems with you, and in turn, you may be able to increase their bottom line.

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Michael Neidle

Michael Neidle
Michael Neidle is president and CEO of Optimal Management, an advisor to staffing firm owners and managers.

Michael Neidle

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