Be honest, would you buy from you?

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Psychological skills for professional services
Buying DecisionPaul Vincent, PSfPS Associate and Founder/Chair of the Management Consultancies Association Buyers’ Forum

The traditional sales model suggests that you identify your target customer’s needs, you judge your capability to deliver against these needs and then you offer a compelling commercial proposition that you think cannot be refused.

But what if you are in a tendering situation and up against a handful of other firms? What other questions might customers have on their minds before they make a decision and purchase from you?

Typical examples might include:

  • What is the personal risk to them or their reputation if you don’t deliver?
  • How would your brand reflect on their firm?
  • Who else do they need to convince within their organisation that your offer is the best one?
  • How easy might it be to switch to you from an existing supplier? Is it worth the effort?
  • How much choice do they have in the marketplace?
  • How much negotiating leverage do they have over you?
  • How much might they need to compromise on their standard business terms and conditions?

Customers want to hear why you, the selling organisation, want to win their business. Why are you the firm that other firms should be benchmarked against? They want to be confident of delivery, they want to know how and when you will deliver this service, they want value for money and they want a contractual discussion that is based on substance rather than points of principle.

If you keep these wider questions in mind and not just slavishly follow the criteria that is stated in the Request for Proposal document, then you will have a distinct advantage over your competitors that do not.

As a result of the competitive economic environment of the last few years, businesses and buyers are far more discerning about how they spend their money. They are far more knowledgeable about the choices available to them and they are far more specific in their needs.

Despite increased competition in the global market, buyers want more for less, are invariably less flexible in negotiations and will almost certainly prefer to pay for results rather than effort alone.

Professional services firms who understand that the market has changed, understand what their buyers are really thinking and who can make themselves as easy as possible to buy from, will be the ones that win.

Now be honest, would you choose to buy from you?

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Should this article resonate, you are advised to see the corresponding ‘Partnering with Procurement‘ or ‘Responding to RFP/ITT‘ programmes that form part of our Business Development Behaviours curriculum.

Please do not hesitate to contact us to find out more about how we help businesses develop the key skills and behaviours required to maximise their chances of procurement success.

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