In the current market conditions there are too many distributors doing the same thing i.e. Sell Products and most of of the case price is the major factor. If this is the case then a highly funded B2B E-Commerce is going to overrun everyone else within a short span of time.
So, how do we differentiate ourselves compared to others in the market. Selling just commodity products and having the same rhetoric – lowest price is not going to help anymore. Infact it can turn against a distributor and lose credibility. Customers are much smarter these days and they want something more than price differentiation. They are willing to pay the premium if the solution offered helps the customer improve their process or increase cost efficiency.
So here are some ideas
Service as a Part of Solution
In the age of commodity selling – good Service makes a Supplier/Distributor stand out from the competition. Identify some clear winners that a particular customer would be interested in – be it delivery or training coures or extended warrant or 24/7 service etc. Each customer will have their own issue that will be bothering them. Identify them and give them a solution to fix that. That improves trust & increases order value from that customer.
Brand your service
Branding your services makes a Distributor be known across the customers. For ex – it could be unique offering that a distributor can only offer in the region. For ex – if you are a seller selling Pan India – then service offering could be “Local Service Guranteed within 24 hours” – that helps customer to be confident they can buy the product anywhere in India and still get them serviced at their local place.
New service launches
Keep introducing services at regular intervals and keep informing your customers regularly. This will be of great interest to customer and that will make them keep coming back to you again & again. By having regular feedback session with your customers or understanding from your sales person – find out what is the customers current pain point – and just offer it if it falls within your reach. Key thing – just dont sell products – understand what the customer is requiring other than products .
Once you identify some key services that can help customers win & gain, it needs constant communication. Make sure you dont over communicate. Make a blog or send emails or ask for a presentation. Keep it very crisp and highlight the Rupee Savings. Any service that will help the customer save a few bucks will be of great interest to the customer.
Differentiate by solving a problem
Customers really love problem solving salespeople rather than a regular salesperson. Identifying the problem, make a proposal to solve the problem . But to do this we need deeper insights of the Customers business. Spending time regularly at the customers place, getting into details, identify quick wins and then making a solution is the approach required.
Once you identify certain recurring problems then start branding a solutions. Get a few customers onboard and use references to gain more leads. Dont just say we offer services to make your business better – that sounds cliche and there are too many people doing that. Be focused and have a clear straight forward approach to make this happen.
Unless you differentiate in this tough economy we die.