Don’t Sell Your Customers, Educate Them

There has never been a better time to pick up new customers. For the first time in years companies are looking for new suppliers…especially domestic suppliers. They want to bring some of their offshore business home. They also are developing new products and are concerned now more than ever about protecting their intellectual property). 

It’s also a great time to grow your business with your current customers. I would venture to say that most of your customers have been buying a percentage of their electronic components from offshore companies. In some cases, a vast majority of their electronic components, from PCBs to Capacitors have come from Asia. But times are changing and your customers want to do some onshoring.

All of these factors make it more important now than ever to be upselling your customers, getting them to give you a larger share of their business.

By the way, you should always be upselling your customers. You should always be educating them about your products and services. Keeping them informed about what you can do for them will make sure that you are getting all of the right business from them you should be getting.

Here are four things you can do to make sure you’re always upselling your customers.

  1. Keep them informed of all of the new developments not only in your own company but in the industry as well. Chances are that if you are working with a buyer, she is very busy handling a number of lines of different products and cannot keep up with all of the new developments in the products she is buying. If you are the one salesperson who is constantly keeping her informed, she will come to rely on you. She’ll know that when she meets up with you, you’ll always be telling her something she did not know by providing her with valuable information that helps her do her job. She will learn to trust you and will really listen and most importantly hear what you have to say. This is critical when you start telling her about what new products and services your company is providing.
  2. To be successful at item one you have to keep yourself informed about what is going on in the industry as well as new developments in your own company. As any good sales person knows, to be successful you have to know everything there is to know about your own products and services. You have to have an in-depth understanding and repeatable knowledge to pass on to your customers. In short, your company is your product, and you have to know everything about your product.
  3. Besides  verbally telling your customers and prospective customers about  your products, you should find other ways to spread the word. One of the best ways to do this is by using a technical sales newsletter. Companies have been finding their way to this solution of late, especially because of the pandemic. A well written, regularly sent out tech bulletin will serve the purpose of putting your company in front of as many customers and potential customers as possible. Some companies even put together and deliver two newsletter a month, one for their current customers and one for their potential customers. The better your content, the more valuable your information is, the better your readership will be, and the more people will know about you and what you do.
  4. Honestly is the best policy. Your customers are starving for information. They are desperate to work with people they can trust. But be aware that they do not like to be “sold.” No one likes to be sold. And the better and more experienced the buyer is, the better he will be at seeing a sales pitch coming around the bend and avoid it with all of their tools and skills! They also have very sensitive B.S. meters; they can tell whether you have their best interest at heart or you’re just winging it and pitching them self-serving information to drive them to your products and services. When I work with companies who have technical people selling their products, I urge them to use titles like Field Application Engineer, or Technology Business Consultant, any title that does not have the word “sales” in it. This is especially true when selling to high tech engineers working for high tech companies. There is something about the word “sales” that turns technical people off to the point where they will not quite trust someone making a technical sales if he has the “S” word in his title. These customers tend to feel that they are not getting good unbiased technical advice when talking to someone dubbed a sales person in any way. This is unfair perhaps, sad for sure, but totally true.

We are entering an age where companies need technical consultative sales efforts from their vendors. They want to be able to trust the people who represent the companies they are buying from. The best way for us in sales to be successful, whether we are technical or not, is to know our stuff, know what our customers need and provide it to them in a good and honest and credible and trustworthy way. It’s only common sense.