A number of studies have shown that in a meeting with Senior Executives, asking too many questions results in a negative reaction. The executive has probably met with
other vendors and heard the same questions many times. He is really looking for the vendor to tell him what to watch for in the coming year both in terms of new products ready to be introduced and competitive companies preparing very aggressive promotions. This is your opportunity to understand his pain and explore opportunities your company offer to go forward on a positive note. Explain your company’s customer-centric philosophy. This means not talking about your products but rather how you and your company can help hi go forward with confidence.
When vendors of automation systems or robotic systems focus on a prospect or a group of prospects in a particular industry, they must know their product thoroughly so that they can not only present the general benefits, but also the specifics that can make a dramatic difference to that manufacturer. The cost/benefit relationship is important but so is the long-term performance. The vendor must explain how it can help the prospect
sharpen his competitive edge against the competition, and how it will work initially with existing legacy equipment. This demands some knowledge of the target company’s history, operations, and future plans.
Even though the vendor is meeting with a lone senior executive, remember that he may have engineers, integrators, data analysts and others in the technical community also providing input that folds into his final decision. Each group must be introduced to the new automation system on their level since each group is interested in different aspects, i.e., the technical people are often interested in the mechanics, workings, and technology, while the executives are interested in the cost, performance, and productivity.
Once the prospect is a customer, it is suggested that you as a vendor establish measurable characteristics that enables progress to be tracked and measured over time to prove the product’s performance. This provides credibility with the customer and establishes a trust between the vendor and the customer. Putting the customer first in all things, puts you and your company in the position of not merely wanting to make a sale, but demonstrates your willingness to be involved in helping the customer take his program from idea to reality.
Since branding a product is often based on the concept of singularity, differentiating your product from all other products (where possible) could be a plus in your ultimate marketing strategy. In the brand-building process, you must think beyond the point of sale and use your business experience to deliver an engaging experience that no other competitor can replicate.
Short of that, going head-to head with a competitor’s proposal on benefits (i.e., cost, installation, performance, and follow-up support, usually will carry the day.
Your specific benefits package could be your competitive edge!
Franklin Cooper © 2019