In an earlier article I wrote, “Analyse your expenditure and revenue sources. Do some customers/vendors/partners cost you more than they bring in? Now is the time to discover them and ditch them. Be brave about it.”
It is a simple concept. Business is in it for the revenue and, more importantly, profitability. It is not about the sale. It is about the profitable sale. If you agree then how do companies come across unprofitable customers? The customers who make more demands than they are worth, the customers who rather bankrupt their supplier than establish a partnership, the customers who find success mutually exclusive…
There is no one to blame, but us, the sellers, the sales managers, the shortsighted companies who are the enablers of the shortsighted customer.
How does one end up there? First and foremost, the culprit is selling on price. When a customer has nothing to differentiate a vendor on then the easiest fallback is on the vendor’s price. As discussed here often there are many other differentiators you should sell on – service, after-sale service, education, reliability, industry knowledge, you!, etc. – and if you do and the customer is uninterested then you have reached the definition of the undesirable customer.
You might have come across the following anecdote about a company’s sales force:
CFO: What happens if we train them and they leave? CEO: What happens if we don’t and they stay?
Let’s turn that around to customers:
CEO: What happens if we do not discount and they go somewhere else? CFO: What happens if we do and they become our customers?
Companies need to shape up, get their chins up, become confident in their product or service and get a differentiator and acquire customers based on it. Otherwise, the cycle perpetuates itself. Is it a pipedream? Perhaps, but companies possibly have no choice either as natural selection will force their hands? Companies selling on price and acquiring customers at any cost are bound to go out of business.
Ask yourself: how are you serving your company by perpetuating a precedent-setting low, or no, profit transaction?
Then ask yourself: how are you serving your company by not understanding your customer and not articulating yourself based on it?
*Things That Need To Go Away: Sales Managers Who Pressure Salesperson To Close The Sale At Any Cost And Salespersons Who Pressure Sales Managers To Close The Sale At Any Cost