I frequently hear building material companies complaining about their customers. The question I have for them is, “Are you calling on winners or losers?” Many times I find they are calling on the builders, dealers and contractors who are losers instead of the winners.
Most of the time it’s easier to sell to a loser. It’s easier to get them to dump their current supplier in favor of you because they value low price above all else. If you can offer the lowest price, you’ll probably get the business.
The problem is that the next guy with a low price can throw you out as easily as you threw out the previous supplier. Losers only think of themselves, so they could care less if anyone else is successful and makes a fair profit.
An even bigger problem is that losers are the ones most likely to go out of business. They tend not to trust anyone and see everything in terms of winning or losing; the way they see it, the other person has to lose in order for them to win. Not only do they have this attitude with their suppliers, but they also have it with their customers.
In today’s online world of transparency, it doesn’t take long for customers to wise up and stop buying from the loser.
Winners are harder to sell, which is why many sales people focus on losers. Winners are more loyal to their suppliers; winners are not just interested in price. They are interested in success, and they realize that it’s easier to be successful with a partner.
While you need to have a competitive price, what you really need is to be able to show the winner why he will be more successful with you. Selling a winner takes time. It takes an investment in learning about them, why they are different and what their goals are.
The sales people who are patient and persistent are best equipped to sell winners. These are also the sales people who have the ability to put themselves in the shoes of their customer to see how they see the world.
While it is harder and takes longer to sell or convert a winner, the benefit is that it will be just as hard for a competitor to replace if you continue to be a great partner.
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Thanks for the following comments. I’d like to hear your feedback and suggestions on how to sell architects.
“Thanks for the nice read. It is so important that we qualify our potential customers. We do our best to grow our business by providing premium products and services. We would expect the return on our investment, so we do our homework and partner with customers that have our same values and goals. Like a Marriage it’s a lot of work but so worth it!!!”
Pacific West Coast Architectural Consultant