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Unique Challenges of Business-to-Business Service Providers: Part 4

Being regarded as an overhead - The service is not perceived as critical to customers’ success.

On this page the challenge of business-to-business service providers we shall look at is – being regarded as an overhead, your service is not perceived as critical to the customer’s success.

As a Sales Director or MD of a company, I may from time it time think I want sales training, more advertising or a PR campaign, as I believe these are investments that will increase my turnover. However, as the Financial Director or MD, I don’t really want to spend money on computer maintenance or contract cleaning services. They’re overheads and I want to keep them to a minimum; once I have them, I don’t really want to spend time talking with people wanting to replace my existing provider (unless they have badly let me down).

To be more successful at winning new business, the timing of your marketing or sales approach becomes more important. It goes without saying that if contracts are typically annual ones, you need to find out when the prospect will next start looking at their renewal options. If it’s more a case of being there at the right time when problems have arisen, then more frequent and regular contact is required. I remember a salesman regularly calling in on us over an extended period, waiting for the time we required his services. We eventually did and shortly after that we employed him ourselves – he proved to be an excellent salesman.

If you’re undertaking regular marketing, how can you change people’s perceptions of the service you provide, to make them see that it’s more critical to their business than they thought – focusing them on the costs of getting things wrong and the positive benefits of hiring the right service partner. Can you give any real client examples? Think who is the real decision maker you should be targeting. It’s often not the person currently buying, or indeed directly using the service – things of a more critical nature tend to be higher up the “food chain”. When you get the opportunity to speak to prospects, find out what they like about their existing provider and what else they would like to make the service even better.

My challenge to all service providers this month is to come up with three distinct reasons why prospects and clients should see your service as more critical to their business. If you can’t think of any, it might be a good opportunity to expand your service offering to provide some.

If you would like to find out more about coaching/mentoring and whether it’s right for you, call 0845 658 0940 or e-mail consultation@coachforsuccess.biz to arrange a no obligation, 30 minute consultation call.

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