SharpViews

Commentary by Tom Columbia

Is Your Value As A Vendor Greater Than The Product Itself?

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All meetings finish in only one of these quadrants.

Accolades to the many successful businesses that commit to making the adjustments that are necessary to stay competitive. Forethought does not reveal the future; it is acknowledging the indicators of what will change and whether you are ready to accept it. Look to a mentor that has accomplished what you are trying to achieve and use their model as motivation. Re-examine who you buy from and those that buy from you, when these relationships are win-win continue to sustain them. Dissolve unredeemable and fractured associations that are no longer viable to the business that you envision. Eliminating the obstacles that prevent growth are equally difficult for everyone.

Admittedly it has been established that haircutters are willing to invest serious money in their tool’s, and financed payments surfaced as one of the overwhelming decisive factors. This blurred the perception of what was being bought, was it the product or an easy payment program. One way or another this is a lesson learned that delivering product at the close of a sale sets impressive standards. Consumers could very well choose someone out of a pool of competing vendors solely based on the convenience of payments. Financing as a payment option for your customers purchases are offered by every merchant system and this has equalized the ability of every size business to turn over their inventory quickly. A Full-Service Scissors Business can easily capitalize on the expertise of established and well-known merchant payment programs. The fees they charge are a deductible business expense, they carry the debt, and you get paid. These types of services quickly replenish the capital needed to restock the cost of goods that were sold, besides collecting accounts receivable on your own is an onerous task.

Affordability for the buyer and profitability for the seller are realized when price objections are set aside. Big-money companies have used education, payment options, offered bundles of scissors, and by making the upfront cost to buyers minimal they sell tens of millions of dollars’ worth of scissors every year. All of this without the perception of a lowered price. They do not hold the exclusive rights to these business practices. since they can more easily adapt to market changes. I personally know it is possible for “David to outmaneuver a cumbersome Giant,” having for decades disrupted big-money opponents that were the assumed monopoly. Simply by recommending scissors of quality over a commonplace product, then emphasizing outstanding knowledge, service, and support programs, it suggested a trifecta of value that was worth betting on. These options are business practices that become profit centers allowing vendors the opportunity to disengage from the use of discounting as a marketing tool.

Invariably you have to accept that having some technological savvy can ease the days routine tasks. From using Google Maps to implementing an on-demand bookkeeping system, where invoices, receipts, inventory tracking, purchase orders, accounts payables, accounts receivables, payments, and profits or a loss are available right up to your last transaction. You can have a website, an app, texting, Facebook, Instagram and so much more for communicating with customers to convey your message. The days of paper trails and cash only sales have waned, no one using the old ways for their business model will continue as a compelling competitor for much longer. Today’s technologies are easily understood, affordable, and give insight to your previous and future business decisions, paying for themselves in measurable efficacies 

Buyers that research your product on the internet right in the middle of a sales meeting is evidence that they are uncertain of your credibility as a vendor. Trustworthiness is an assessment of a combination of your knowledge, experience, personal image, and your associations. To gain credibility be preemptive to overt any negative perceptions of these qualities. They are fragile characteristics that must be constantly reaffirmed with every meeting, never assume that they have longevity. Your statements, opinions, and comments should always be endorsed with verifiable evidence that has the exactness of presenting facts to a courtroom jury. Confirming what was known to be true in your previous visits is a subtle way to start any meeting.

Having a credible or an uncredible reputation means that the buyer knows you from past experiences or are well aware of your company and products; determining which of these qualities is in play is essential to advance the meeting. Obviously, having credibility makes engaging in the conversation much simpler because the buyer is actively participating.

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Sometimes, even an existing customer might exhibit slight indications of argumentativeness, limited responses, or lack attentiveness, these are symptom’s demonstrating that they believe you lack credibility. The important thing is to remember that the beliefs in play could be fully formed, partially formed, or based on misinformation. These are actual objections for the buyer, regardless of how they were acquired. Whether this belief is correct or a rumor it needs to be addressed, or the meeting cannot precede. Even a lack of trust issues can be overcome when you possess details that will negate any misinformation. A valid grievance can be reconciled when you can get the buyer to propose a mutually satisfactory solution. Offer to implement changes or convey that a course of action exists to eliminate the possibility of any recurrence. Your sincere willingness to sort out any previous differences until it is totally resolved goes a long way, as most buyers will be satisfied when they can form a working relationship. For whatever reason, some credibility issues can be targeted at the scissors business in general and have nothing to do with you or your company. The spotlight is directed on you to find a solution for their objection, and its impact has enormous value.

Raising the problematic inconsistency of websites up front in a meeting reinforces the buyer’s perception of your market awareness. It will intercept them from needing to search the internet during a face-to-face meeting or after you leave the room. Discovering the buyers reasoning to seek outside sources to confirm your reliability is an underlying objection; address it early or lose the sale. (An underlying objection is based on feelings and not yet openly discussed). In my case I recommended my own website as the genuine standard, it was not just a store, there was a plethora of articles on What You Need To Know About Scissors, which anyone can use for research and maintenance advice. To offer an example, I would give them a copy of my booklet that covers all the basics as a gift.

In person or on the internet the premise of looking at scissors is the pathway for exploring solutions to identify a need. The advantage of a face-to-face meeting is that you have a real selection of scissors to be assessed, not pictures. You interact with the buyer, where websites are static, non-interactive, and assume that stylist know and understand every aspect of a scissors function, consequently the reason for the return of many internet purchases. The advantage of doing business locally with a Full-Service Scissor Business is that they will be working with someone with experience and a personal mindfulness for customer service. With today’s technology you can be immediately informed when customers need assistance.

The compulsion to search for deals on the internet is addictive, not necessarily productive. Endless price comparisons, implying stocked inventory, and free shipping, all of it enticing. Furthermore, they can use the scissors and then cheerfully return them without any questions. What happens to all the scissors that are returned within 30 days, is it conceivable they could be damaged, lack the packaging, missing the warranty paperwork or accessories? Really, what does happen to this product?

When delivering a new purchase, nothing compares to you silently opening the original packaging, checking the tension setting, applying a droplet of oil, caressing the blade while cleaning it with a chamois, examining and visually admiring the quality, then presenting the new scissors to the anticipating owner. Displaying a level of pride in your product will be observed and transferred to its future handling and maintenance by the stylist. You have quietly delivered the message that owning this pair of scissors comes with responsibilities. Personal service is an opportunity to prove a point, or you could be like the UPS driver that delivers a box and says sign here.

Selling on the internet has all the appearance of easy business because the buyer simply searches the website, buys your product, and you ship it. Nevertheless, the stylist is still going to expect the identical level of fulfillment as with the one-on-one consultation. Whether they have a face-to-face meeting or make an internet purchase the buyer still has to identify their need and explore the correct solution in order for them to be satisfied with their scissors. When a stylist bought scissors from my website, they received a call from me or the office manager to confirm all the details; it was treated the same as an in-person meeting. Rely on your instinct with that old adage “trust but verify” that their decision-making process matched what they assumed they were buying. Amazingly many buyers would change to an alternate choice of scissors during the phone consultation, or they at least thanked us for the courtesy of the call to confirm that the order was correct. These follow-up calls also revealed buyers that were difficult to contact, confirmed the shipping information, or it might expose an attempted fraudulent sale.

My next article examines what I believe triggers the challenges directed toward the price of scissors, digging up the roots to see where it gets nourishment. The marketing strategies of the local vendor and the primary distributor might actually be sending conflicting messages to the buyer. Also, could your primary distributor’s participation in regional shows as well as their official website be soliciting your customers away from you? Why do you continue to discover other vendors peddling your product in your sales territory? Is being a cooperative business partner with your scissor brands mean that all promotions, price or policy changes, and new products are mutually beneficial? Has your alliance actually been consummated, or did it lack a realistic commitment from both parties at its inception?