What Clients Really Want—It’s Not the Best Price!
A few years back I was speaking at Fruit of the Loom’s national sales meeting, I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with a gentleman whose name escapes me, however, his message during our offstage conversations still resonates with me today.
I recall complaining about how difficult clients were, how they always were looking for the best price and shopping me all the time. He paused and said, “Cliff, what are you doing to make that change?” “What do you mean?” I responded. He said, “Isn’t it the buyer’s (our client’s) job to level the playing field? If I can buy what you have from 20 people, and each of them can get it to me in the same timeframe, same quality, what else is left other than price? What have you done to raise the bar so they can’t put you on that same field?”
An article in BtoB magazine listed the top 10 things clients are really looking for in a strategic marketing partner. Amazingly, price didn’t even make the list. Marketers, your clients, in many cases, are having their compensation packages dictated by their ability or inability as it were to show results, so there is the opportunity glaringly looking you in the eyes. So what are the 10 things?
1. A Strategic Thinker
To be an excellent strategic thinker, you must first know something. that knowing comes from gaining an understanding of the objectives, and that comes from asking questions. Distributors and suppliers alike, for the most part, ask far too few questions. We are so bent on getting the sale that we miss the big picture. We squabble over the scraps that fall from the table and we miss the feast. Find out what plans the client has for their business and be proactive.