It is quite normal to say that salespersons need customers to survive. How many times have you given credence to the fact that customers also need salespersons? Customers also need to maintain positive PR with salespersons so that the latter can give them favours. It is a very symbiotic relationship whereas many a freshers in sales feel that buyer – seller relationship is parasitic where only the seller in interested in doing business with the buyer.
Sellers need Buyers as much as Buyers need Sellers.
1. New Product Development
When the buyer wants to develop a new product he wants full cooperation from the seller in terms of doing the relevant R&D to customise the input that the seller often supplies. If the seller is not ready to invest in the R&D for the buyer, the latter cannot even think of new product development.
Many a times the samples developed for the buyer fails. On such occasions the seller has to support the buyer with new samples.
2. Inconsistent lots / batches leading to wastage
Whenever the goods supplied by seller has inconsistency within lots or batches the buyer needs the sellers cooperation to prove that the inconsistency is within the sellers supply rather than the buyers process inconsistency.
3. Help customers in cost justification
Many a times, the buyer needs the sellers help in preparing a cost justification of the products being purchased. This is very important in purchase of highly technical products wherein the sellers technical knowledge and experience with the products far exceeds the buyers own knowledge.
4. Market Intelligence
The buyer of a given product often seeks market intelligence about their competitors from seller of products and services. The latter do visit the competitors of the buyers and have a first hand knowledge about the same.
5. Sharing best practices
The product or service sold by a seller is often put to different usage by individual buyers. There are smart users of the same product in the market who are able to take a better yield from the same product. These best practices are shared by smart salespersons with other buyers. In my sales career I have always done this sharing with customers who maintained a good PR with me.
6. Extended Credit period
Sometimes the markets are bad and the buyer is constrained to request for extended credit. While this may be a breach to the contract but it is only the salesperson who can recommend this to their management if the latter deems the same fit.
7. Supply Chain Management
The seller can support the buyer in maintaining JIT (Just in Time) inventory or smaller levels of inventory at a given point of time. Sometimes this is at the cost of increase in transport cost to the seller. By doing so the least count of payment cycle of the buyer becomes smaller and controllable.
In a nutshell
All those of you out there in the field of Sales, please start appreciating the fact that the customer needs you as well. Do not approach the customers table ever with a begging bowl. The two have to respect each other for their respective professionalism. All of us need each other. Why fall a prey to the customer every time by thinking that it is only the seller who needs the buyer.