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Down Selling to Better Serve Your Client Relationships!

10 Sep 2018 | Posted Under Sales



The fluid ability of a sales professional to be able to meet a prospect/customer immediate needs, while mentally evaluating other products or services they represent to determine if there are more efficient ways in which they can further meet a prospect/customer needs in the future is the purpose of “down-selling”.

As a sales professional, you must always be on the look-out for relevant “down-selling” opportunities in each transaction with a contact. Over-selling a prospect/customer for a one time win and sale, may be good in some crazy transactional view, however, if what you seek is a long-term relationship and advocacy of the client, then taking advantage of them and over-selling or incorrectly selling them has significant lasting long term fallout.

You must be able to evaluate every given transaction, if there are or is an appropriate “down-selling” opportunity to a better (a special, new, improved, discontinued, rebated, better profit margin items) product/service that will actually serve the clients needs more appropriately.

For example, if a person enters a electronics shop to buy an appliance or entertainment system and is looking at the high end product, the sales professional may want to avoid making the high end product sale if they determine via dialogue with the potential customer, what their exact needs are and that a better unit at a savings would address their needs. By making the distinction and allowing the buyer to make an informed decision between the two you do a service to the client and give them significant reason to patronize you in the future.

Another example, a person wants to join a larger organization (like the military) and you find in the course of interviewing them that their needs may be better served on both the immediate need level and long term level by another sub entity within the larger organization, than the professional side of you should guide them to that better decision (such as a prospect is talking to you an ARMY National Guard recruiter/salesmen and you determine their real needs are best served in the NAVY, then refer them to or make the sale to the other organization and not your own).

You must recognize the appropriate “down-selling” items or which products/services you offer that have obvious “down-selling” opportunity and role play some of those as examples with the group in the Mini-Seminar. Verbally show them some examples using the Five Step Selling Process (Claim-Fact/Feature-Benefit-Naildown sequence).

Every customer contact is an opportunity to meet their needs, if the sales professional does a thorough job in the Inquiry stage of the selling process to uncover their needs (immediate and future), then in the Presentation stage, “down-selling” options can be presented if appropriate.

Instead of, “this will address your needs”, the conversation may be more like, “you may want to consider this instead of that, as this will do the job you require and save you some monies…”

You are always looking at the totality of needs that can be fulfilled with the totality of products/services they represent, all with the best interest of the customer in mind.

Another example, if you are presenting the purchase of an full day educational motivational workshop for a conference to a prospect and you determine that you can satisfactorily deliver what they need in a half day session, thereby saving them money and you make that recommendation, you may find that you have gained a client for life!

You should always be thinking of the best opportunity with every transaction to build a lasting relationship. To make those options available at the time of the initial transaction is the best window of “down-selling” opportunity.

Down-selling can take on many different forms. This can be a valuable and legitimate reason for continued follow-up with clients, ensuring they are aware of additional ways to enhance their last transaction with you, and thus build a better and deeper relationship with them. Consider reconnections:

  • As you know the client’s needs evolve or change, then you can use new product/service introductions as a reason to stay in contact with new and established customers and let them know of new offerings, if they would like to make that purchase, upgrade, etc., and if you can work the financials so what they have previously purchased with can be credited in some degree towards their next purchase, even greater respect and leverage …
  • You can use new product/service introductions as a reason to stay in contact with new and established customers and let them know of new offerings, if they would like to make that purchase, upgrade, etc. … And, then use this legitimate re- connection as an opportunity as and when appropriate to solicit “referrals” from them and their vast network, personally and professionally …
  • Leveraging yourself as a Subject-Matter-Expert and always reflecting on ways to share your unique industry, marketplace opportunities, or perspectives on how to utilize your organizations deliverable’s more effectively so the client can gain additional ROIs ...
  • Leveraging your colleagues as Subject-Matter-Experts and always be reflecting on ways to share their unique industry, marketplace opportunities, or perspectives on how to utilize your organizations deliverable’s more effectively so the client can gain additional ROIs ...
  • Leveraging yourself as a Subject-Matter-Expert and always reflecting on ways to share your data base strategically for introductions within the industry and marketplace opportunities so the client can gain additional ROIs ...
  • Use your existing relationship as an opportunity to explore other services or deliverables that you may have that may enhance their professional needs for an upgrade in the relationship or horizontal add-on of other deliverables that you may have …
  • Always be evaluating the marketplace for other suppliers, vendors, manufacturers, etc. that may have a deliverable that can be added or combined to what you have connected to your client on, and by your client acquiring that deliverable it enhances what they have or provide to their subsequent customers or enhances their marketplace position …
  • Examine the form of the deliverable that you are providing the marketplace and any specific customer, then evaluate whether you have or could create a new deliverable as an upgrade that enhances what the client is doing with you, and this cross-sale strengthens your relationship and generates additional revenue streams …
  1. Example: If you are engaged in professional-personal development by attending a human capital development on-site training program and gain value from that experience, this would be the initial sale activity. Then if there were on-line learning and development portal self-driven courseware programs and the person you did or are doing business with lets you know about this additional opportunity, as an additional way to increase your skill set and thus marketplace value, you would want to know and consider this, this would be the first follow-up up-selling opportunity.

    Then, sometime into the future, if there were a release of new resource (book, audio, on-line program, coaching, master-mind collaboration groups, improved live on-site program, etc.) these would all be additional cross selling opportunities.

    However, down-selling is about right-selling, so if the client is enthusiastic to purchase quantity items or everything that you have to offer, and that is over-sell and not appropriate, then down-selling is the right-selling approach and engage the client as to what the level of appropriate purchase or investment might be, given their ability ti use, consume and see a measurable ROI.

    I could design regular touch-points to keep my name in front of the client or marketplace through penning regular, high value, content rich articles or article series/column that can be delivered via social media/internet subscription (free or for a fee) or traditional hard copy distribution that reinforce the spirit, theme, reason for the initial client interaction …

Completely fulfilling a customers’ need with all products/services offered by your organization/department is the responsibility of a professional sales representative and sales leader.

Down-selling is about integrity and right-selling.

Another means to fulfilling legitimate prospect/customer needs from a down-selling perspective may be to deploy the Business Integration Grid™ (BIG) discussed in previous PERFORMANCE DRIVEN SELLING® programs, training, on-line courseware and this series (www.JeffreyMagee.com). Consider:

  • The contacts you have that you are doing business with and the appropriate services or deliverables they would need connected to what they are doing business with you on, that another non-competing entity or vendor provides. Now image you had a forged referral relationship with those non-competing entity or vendors (partnerships, collaborations, alliance-partners). That based off of the relationship you have and the trust factor established you could now recommend services and deliverables from another entity that would serve them in their needs and at the same time generate an additional free revenue stream to you and your organization!
  • Now, explore the same BIG model in reverse. The contacts and customers that these partners (collaborations, partnership, alliance partnerships) already have relationships with, brainstorm the massive business development opportunities that may be present and strategize which ones that they are doing business with and the appropriate services or deliverables that you have that they would need, and build a campaign to connect to them. Now image you had a forged referral relationship with those non-competing entity or vendors. That based off of the relationship you have and the trust factor established with them, and their respective trust factor to their clients, you could now recommend services and deliverables that would serve them in their needs and at the same time generate an additional free revenue stream to you and your organization – and additional revenue streams to those partnered organizations!

Completely fulfilling a customer needs with all products/services offered by your organization/department is the responsibility of a professional sales representative and sales leader. 

What are your thoughts?



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