Do you consider yourself an order taker? A supplier? What about a trusted advisor? How your clients view you has an impact on your ability to sell. Sean McPheat introduces his readers to four stages of relationships that customers have with their suppliers, describing each and explaining why stage four, the trusted advisor, is where you want to be.
If you’re not there, no worries; you can be just by working your way through the stages, starting with order taker. “…If you can progress through each of the stages,” he writes, “you can really make a huge difference to their business and your own profits.”
Order taker to trusted advisor
- The first stage is being an order taker, and it’s where many reps get stuck. In this role, the rep and the client will always be discussing price, and the client will likely always bring up cost or an objection regarding the price. “If they view you as just an order taker then price sensitivity will be very high indeed and their loyalty to you and your products and services will be zero,” McPheat explains.
- The next stage, a supplier, is when the salesperson does add some additional benefits in addition to their product or service. While you’re no longer just an order taker, you are still engaging in a business transaction, rather than a relationship, with the client. At this stage, you’ll likely still need to actively pitch to upsell, cross-sell and keep them coming back for repeat business.
- The third stage is the value-added salesperson. Those who are in this stage are responsive to the client’s needs and go above and beyond basic service (at little to no extra cost). While this does add value and position you as a top vendor, you are still considered a vendor.
Check out McPheat’s article to learn about that fourth and final stage, the one you should strive for: the trusted advisor. Even if you are more than an order taker, have you reached that coveted stage? No matter where you are in your career, take the time to see if you can identify where you fall in his list and learn how to reach that final stage. Because, as McPheat writes, “This is the key for building long-term relationships and is where all of the fruit is!”