Negotiation & Management

Negotiation

It can be tempting to think your product can sell at a premium when launching a new business or a new product. You know your product has unique value in the market and you expect others to recognize that. And you are probably at a point where costs are piling up and you haven’t had much of a return on investment yet. Which can make it hard to think about a longer period of time to recoup your investment.

But we want you to remember that selling your product is not a battle to be won, but a partnership where both sides benefit. You want your customer to feel that they received a good value for their money, and that will lead to referrals and repeat sales. NOTE: We are going to talk about B2C and B2B. B2C is Business (you) to Consumer (the end customer) and B2B is Business (you) to Company (a distributor or retail outlet). 

B2B: If you’re selling your product to another business, remember that they’ll have to make a profit on their sale. If after they add their overhead and profit, the final price is not competitive in the market than sales will suffer. You want to be profitable, but they need to be profitable as well. 

Focus more on building an equitable, sustainable partnership with your customers. The right product at the right price will have customers coming back and earn you more in the long run compared to trying to earn as much as possible in the short term.

And remember, whether you are exporting to the end customer or a distributor, they are your best source of feedback about that foreign market. Therefore keeping that communication open and learning from them will help you grow your business.

Customer Management

Like every other part of your business, you need the right strategies and tools to effectively manage your customer relations. At the end of the day, if your customers are unhappy and stop buying your product, then you won’t have a business any more.

It’s important to remember that a sale isn’t the end of your relationship with the customer. If you play your cards right, that sale can be the first sale of a long lasting relationship.

Most large companies actually have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System to handle customer data. This data can then be used to find trends and set up strategies to encourage future sales.

With any customer management strategy, it’s important that you:

  • Don’t treat your customers as data points – they’re unique and it’s helpful to get to know them better.
  • Make the shopping and buying process as simple as possible.
  • Good Information leads to Good Decisions: Know how your customers are finding you

Don’t Treat Your Customers as Data Points – They’re Unique!

People remember good buying experiences – and that’s as true for a corporate buyer as it is for a consumer. I’m sure you can recall several positive purchasing experiences off the top of your head. I’m sure you also remember really poor experiences.

For the most part, I bet your impression was based on how you were treated and how they made you feel. The times when the staff were friendly and looked out for you were probably good buying experiences while as the times when they only cared about making a sale or were just rude to you were probably bad experiences.

If you treat your customers right they’ll be loyal. That means more repeat customers and referrals.

Make the Buying Process as Simple as Possible

Have you ever been gone online and you want to buy an item but you can’t figure out how to complete the purchase? That is the same feeling as being in a store and you can’t find help – it’s just not worth the effort, As great as your website, buying platform and product may be, if the customer can’t easily make a purchase you can lose sales.

B2C: Make the purchase process as simple and straight forward as possible – i.e. make it easy for them to give you money! Have your site tested (we call it beta testing) by people unfamiliar with the site or the products. Were they able to find the product they were looking for? Could they add multiple products to the shopping cart? 

B2B: Your customer will want to calculate the landed cost so that they know how much they can add on that for their resale price. Make it easy for them to get /find that information. Tell them how you will package the goods, what information will be included, what kind of support you can give the end customer. Help them succeed!

Good Information Leads to Good Decisions

Selling your product is not like it was even 20 years ago. We have a lot more data now that we can use to understand and grow our business. Publicly available data about the market, our competitors, etc. And data we can collect and use about who visits our website or store front, about our B2B customers profile and their market. There are so many opportunities to find and use data to make better decisions. 

The same can be said for the customer. They can find you online, and your competitor! You need to be on multiple platforms and using think about SEO and other tools to make sure you are positioning yourself to be found by customers.

B2C: Often your sales platform and/or shopping cart program will be able to provide data and reports that can help you track trends and customer buying patterns. Use it!

B2B: If you are using a platform, you will also have data available. If customer are coming to your own website than you need to collaborate with an expert to make sure you have the tools available to capture information about who is visiting your site, what they are searching for, what orders they place, etc.