“Sales Psychologist” is probably the best term to describe the best salespeople in Ingredient Industry. They primarily understand and spend enormous time to understand the motivations of their customers. They structure their offering to appeal to the primary needs of the people they are talking to.
This article takes a tour into understanding how ingredient buyers buy and how as a salesperson, you should structure your sales offering, so that it touches on the key motivations of the buyer. We shall try to understand the objectives of all buying behaviour and a list of seven key questions that a salesperson must answer. We shall also cover how getting an appointment starts the sales process and how to end it with the sales presentation.
The basic rule of our profession is “Ingredients are sold, not bought” that implies that a sales person has to make definitive efforts to make a buyer decide. However, you all know that initially most of our prospects are uninterested in our ingredient offered. The primary reason to this is that all good potential prospects are continually inundated with sales offers. They are so many sales people in the industry who are continually making hundreds of sales offer to them every month. Best of our prospects are also busiest and overwhelmed in their work and other activities.
Let’s now understand the psychology of human actions, which is why any human would take an action? This is best explained in “A-B-C Theory of Action”. ‘Antecedents’ meaning the previous experiences account for 15% of motivation. These are the action that have resulted positive results in the past. ‘Behaviours’ are thus aimed at achieving desired results of some kind. ‘Consequences’ are the anticipated results, in the minds of the person that his/her action would generate. These anticipated results or consequences account for 85% of the motivation.
All actions are aimed to improvement of some kind and hence are this list of motivation areas. Buying behaviours are based on anticipated improvement in these areas
- More Money - People are motivated because they feel they will have more money than they have right now
- Lower Cost - People seek lower costs than they are currently experiencing.
- Convenience (time) -Buyers seek increased convenience and ease of operation
- Speed (fast) - Increased speed of a particular process or activity is an improvement buyers will pay for.
- Beauty -Buying activity is motivated by an increase in beauty, either personally or materially
- Ego – being better and more esteemed than others is a major motivator for buying behaviour.
- Position – status, prestige are major motivators of buying activity.
Before seeking an appointment, you should be prepared for answering the below seven questions. Whether a customer asks them or not, your ability or inability to effectively answer these determines the success of your sales conversation.
- “Why should I listen to you?”
- “What is it? What does it do?”
- “Who else has done it? Who else that I know?”
- “Who says so? Other than you?”
- “What do I get? Exactly?”
- “WIIFM? What’s in it for me — personally?”
- “So what? What is the specific benefit I will enjoy from what you are offering?”
In a sales process, you must have observed customers objecting. Remember that the primary reason to this is that you are not accomplishing either of the two things: solving a problem or answering one of the above key questions. The more a salesperson focuses on these things, the more a customer is interested to listen to you. Any topic of discussion out of these will make the customer disinterested and goes against the salesperson in the room.
While requesting to meet with a prospect, your ability to get a confirmed appointment successfully determines everything that happens in the sales process.
Once you have the appointment and you have prepared yourself for the key questions, the next step is to position your ingredient with performance of a ‘GAP analysis.’ You should behave as a detective seeking problems or needs, which your ingredient can satisfy. The key to uncovering these needs is to ask carefully planned questions. Your goal is to uncover a gap between where your customer is today and where your customer could be with use of your ingredient.
Your job is to clearly define the GAP for the customer and inflate the gap by intensifying the need or problem. When the customer recognises that he / she has a problem, you suggest a satisfactory and cost-effective solution, by use of your ingredient.
Now, being in a competitive marker and that the customer has recognised that his problem can be solved by your ingredient, he/she will want to reduce the risk by evaluating all other options available. Your job is to help the customer in 3 ways to avoid the sale going to completion now.
- Determine the buying criteria – base the specifications and service levels, based on which the buying decision should be made.
- Compare other – help the customer to favourably compare your ingredient against other options available in the market.
- Decide among various options – help the customer decide that your product is the best choice among options.
You can get 95% of the way to the sale and loose it if you do not resolve the buyers’ final concerns. There are two types of final concerns that come up; spoken concerns are the questions and objections that the customer brings up at the end of the sales conversation. On the other hand, unspoken concerns should be elicited by asking questions and listening patiently and persistently.
After a complete sales presentation, you must be prepared to ask the customer to take action of some kind. Invite the customer to buy: “Why don’t you give it a try?” Ask for the order. Assume a positive response: “If you have no further questions, then the next step is...” Keep the initiative at all times; promise to follow-up at a specific time. There is a major difference between “persistence,” and “insistence.” Persistence is positive while insistence is obnoxious.
Remember that if you ask enough questions and listen patiently, the customer will tell you everything you need to know to make the sale. Fully 70% of the sales conversation should be spent building trust and clearly identifying the customer’s needs before you begin talking about your ingredient or making recommendations of any kind.
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