One of the things I have seen many companies struggling with is how to present a product properly without being misleading and complicating the process. I will toss in my two cents to see if I can help improve the process that many people find painful or difficult.
BELIEVE IN THE PRODUCT
I cannot stress how much it matters to fully dedicate yourself to the product you are standing behind before you try to offer it to other people. Too many times in my career have I seen people trying to sell something simply to make money or to make a living. This belief must be achieved in a very personal way; whether it is an experience you have had with a product or something you have witnessed many times. This is the fire that drives you to tell others and allows you to speak from experience and integrity rather than reading from a script.
**Find people that share a similar experience or bring them up to this understanding**
Hot leads: Hot leads are defined as business that is approaching you with the interest in buying.
In this circumstance, the next step is to find the person or people that are interested in talking to you. In our case we are very fortunate to receive hundreds of leads a month from various companies who are interested in carrying our liquid lines or wish for us to licence their products. Another overlooked category is our online customers who choose each time to spend their hard earned dollars on our website and to whom we actively promote.
In order to optimize an exchange, it’s important to gather some simple information:
- Who are they?
- Where are they located?
- What is the easiest way to reach them in the future (and alternatives)?
- What type of influence does this contact have? (example: individual customer, single store, small chain, large corporate chain, national brand, group buying platform etc.)
- Why did they reach out to you?
- Exactly what is needed and wanted?
- If they are presently in the industry, What has been their experience?
- What do they like about their current suppliers?
- What do they not like about their current suppliers?
- If they are not presently in the industry, Why did they reach out to you?
- What do they expect from you if you formed a working relationship?
- What motivates them to be in this business?
These are some good questions to ask and I always use things like this as a fall back when a conversation seems to fall off a little. The truth is I am much more interested in getting to know the person. This brings me to my next point.
Always work towards deals that wear well.
The classic mistake is trying to forge deals that are the most profitable rather than focusing on deals that are mutually beneficial. Money is usually a motivating factor in striking any type of relationship professionally, but it is not the only one. Real professionals look for deals that can stand the test of time and focus on dealing with the reality when they are good and when times are bad. One of the great facets of our company is our desire to make things right when mistakes are made, and we are equally proud when things go perfectly and everyone just gets ahead quickly. Perhaps this is a secret sauce or perhaps it’s just common sense but in my mind it’s the latter.
Some things I let people know when I am working from a sales perspective:
- I do not work in sales, but I focus on business development (This is because this demonstrated some type of mutual goal rather than a one way flow).
- Our company has a long track record of standing behind our products.
- We are constantly innovating and moving right along with the market as it evolves.
- We do not get into fixed ideas about how to do things but rather stay in communication with all our clients that wish to communicate with us.
- We are a non-combative company that focuses on diplomacy and respect for competitors.
- Our products work and hundreds of thousands of clients have found success.
- Our manufacturing facility maintains a long list of certifications and controls in place to keep things consistent, safe and prepared for the inevitable regulation that is occurring.
- We are supportive and proactive to comply with new regulations and standards often well in advance of our competitors.
- We are well respected by ECTA, DVine and many of our industry peers in doing what we do.
- The products we carry service an array of consumers, from the first time user to the experienced vaper.
- My preference with meeting in person (which is getting more difficult because we are doing a lot of national and international deals).
- Who I am and why I believe in this brand.
- What types of successful deals I have done and why they have worked.
- What types of deals I have done that have gone badly and why.
- My ambition to find a mutual focal point that we can both agree on.
Once you have found the right people to communicate with and made yourself known it starts to get easy. I genuinely like getting to know people because I have always found it fascinating to hear people’s stories. I often ask questions about people’s personal experiences such as:
- Do they have a personal story regarding the product or the industry?
- Are they in it for the long term?
- Is it just them or is family involved?
- Do they have a great story about a client they have helped or worked with?
Building upon this I usually finish off a meeting with a brief overview of what I have learned and do a summary. It’s not a bad idea to ask if there is anything they wish to add before you end the conversation. The final step is to send them an email showing this summary and present a battle plan to build upon a deal if it’s available.
Price point: Again, building upon the classic mistake of profit most people try and start with some price point and allow someone to “bring them down”. The reality is much different however when you look at it from the perspective of making a deal that wears well. We bring a wide range of support behind our product:
- Access to professional marketing both in-house and custom work from our team of professionals
- Assistance with Health Canada related letters and queries
- Free marketing from our websites, videos, articles and campaigns throughout Canada
- Greatly improved pricing at a wholesale level
- MSDS, product specification and allergy sheets for full disclosure to you and your clients
- Unlimited training done at our head office for employees, managers and owners
- Market research regarding competitors, trends, product sales etc…
- Product innovation and research and development
- Access to exclusive lines and products.
- Greatly improved hardware purchasing as we selectively look for profitable opportunities for all
- Compliance and understanding with current and upcoming government regulation
- Connection with a national brand in both manufacturing and distribution
- Access to weekly videos to stay up to date on the advancement of the industry
- Association with an ECTA certified brand
- Access to partnership and affiliate discounts from a wide range of companies and services
- Appointments available with any of our employees to discuss specific issues
- Layout and interior design support
- Professional lease, insurance and banking consulting
Our goal is always to bring the liquid and “all the fixings”. This however is not a license to bombard someone with hundreds of facts until they are defeated and bored with it all. If you really talk to someone with a purpose to find out what is needed and wanted you can easily tailor responses to target the specific things that people will find interest in. A great way to get someone to not want to talk to you anymore is to discuss things they have no interest in hearing. Equally so a great way to forge a great relationship is to give them what they want.
The last part of the formula is to “deliver the goods”. This part is easy, do what you said you were going to do. It is through the completion of expected results that you build trust and word of mouth with a client. Remember it is the companies job to honour the agreements put together. A company that cannot do this will make you look very badly indeed.
If you continue the cycle of:
- Good positive communication with the other party
- Promoting new products and services without being intrusive
- Honouring your agreements by focusing on opportunities that make both sides successful
- Solving any difficulties that arise in a timely manner
These 4 points will ensure longstanding and profitable relationships that won't seem like much effort is needed at all.