The flooring market is constantly evolving. We’ve even seen a revolution recently with the strong entry of vinyl flooring (LVT, SPC) into the modern channel, as we finally get refined products that meet the hallmarks of easy installation and minimize the risk of complaints. DIY chains have proven that it is possible to sell ‘vinyl’ successfully and on a large scale. Even one that comes from the Far East. Product has matured and has been refined many Times. Now it is in the midst of a large increase in sales volume.
This is followed by the need for customized accessories and the general trend among Consumers to choose complementary products on a dedicated basis. After all no one feels like quibbling over the choice of floor underlay.
Therefore, there is a need for floor underlays that are dedicated to specific types of flooring and a simple selection key if more than one underlay can be used (e.g., the answer to the question: do I have underfloor heating – if yes, I choose product A, if not – product B).
As a result, suppliers and manufacturers that do not provide an adequate selection of accessories will sooner or later lose market share to companies that follow the needs set by the target customer, the Consumer.
Purchasing manager are guided by several important selection categories:
4. Product reliability (reducing the risk of complaints)
5. Security of supply (ensuring availability and regularity of supply)
As you can see, there is not an ounce of finesse in this. On the surface, it is also difficult to see any interest in the peripheral product arguments usually used by salespeople, supplier or manufacturer representatives.
There is no single good answer to such a question. However, I will try to present some proven patents for drawing attention to your floor underlay offer.
The question of price strips our offer of all the arguments that we have painstakingly collected in preparation for negotiations. Therefore, it is very important to manage the purchasing manager’s concentration in the sales process to effectively redirect attention to other aspects of our offer. This seemingly simple task proves extremely difficult for most salespeople, mainly because they fail to look at the offer they are preparing through the eyes of the other party.
There are excellent, logical thinking tools that allow us to diagnose the problems of our potential customer in a systematic way, but I will leave that for a separate entry. Let’s just focus on the most relevant issues.
1. What problems might the purchasing manager’s have on a daily basis?
2. What does he fear about the new supplier?
3. Where does his attention go (is he sure he is focused on the products I want to talk to him about?)
4. Does he have negative experiences with current suppliers?
5. What would the ideal world of a purchasing manager look like?
6. What should a dream supplier be like from a purchasing manager perspective
Do you understand what I’m getting at?
The answers to these questions will allow you to prepare for the meeting and to moderate it in such a way as to arouse interest and ‘buy’ the purchasing manager’s attention. Why? Because you will begin to speak the same language and you will point out the problems he faces on a daily basis. Maybe you will even manage to discover and name the problems that affect him, and he is not directly aware of them?
Another, equally important issue is to present possible solutions or opportunities to mitigate the unpleasant consequences of already named problems. This element of your work you must prepare perfectly. A good solution (don’t confuse it with a product!) is one that will build in purchasing manager the belief that it is directly ‘tailored’ for him.
Be especially sensitive to the objections raised by the other party when discussing solution proposals (from which it should naturally follow that your offer will be theirs). These objections will allow you to refine your offer, supplement it with arguments relevant to the other party. This is because you have gained the trust of the other side and thus your negotiating partner reveals his doubts to you. This is very valuable knowledge. Do not turn away from it and do not perceive it at this stage as an accusation or an attempt to reject your proposal.
As you have noticed we are moving softly from discussing problems and their possible solutions to formulating an offer. An offer understood precisely as a solution to a problem rather than a product to sell. By mastering this art you will be able to become really effective in sales.
At this stage when you start talking about how you can help remove or reduce the negative effects of the problems affecting the purchasing manager, you can move on to sales arguments. The conversation should be completely different now, because you are the one who can come out with a price proposal, you can show your competence, preparation and indicate the expected margin that the chain should generate on the products offered. You will emphasize your knowledge of the industry and once again confirm your sensitivity to the purchasing manager’s concerns. You can indicate the expected turnover (remember, an important element of a DIY chain’s purchasing policy is the turnover rates and efficiency gained from the running meter of the shelf your products occupy).
The final step will be to confirm the terms of supply, your credibility as a manufacturer and supplier.
I realize that the issues raised above are only a small part of the problem of negotiating with DIY chains. I am curious to hear your opinions.
Share your experiences, and if you think any of the threads in my post are worth elaborating on, let me know!