The New Model for Selling Food Ingredients

Similar to the changes happening all around us, the science of selling too has changed dramatically. Those who have changed, adjusted and adapted to this new world of selling are today’s top sales professionals. There is difference in how they treat their customers and how they see themselves.

This article tries to explain why selling is more complex today and what were the four steps of Old Model of selling that made it of no relevance today. The benefits of applying the ‘Law of Indirect Effort’ to your selling work are the basis to this new model of selling.

The primary reason for changes in selling model is that our customers have changed dramatically. Never before were the customers so much more knowledgeable about food ingredients. Our competitors too are far stronger and determined. Customers’ needs of today can be satisfied by many more types of ingredients and that the sophistication of demanding customers has increased than ever before.

The Older models of selling were generally based on single customer visit, with simple and unsophisticated approaches. This model was called AIDA model. A stood for “Attention” that is to gain attention of the prospect by various tricks. I stood for “Interest” as in to be gained by discussing features of the product you are selling. D stood for “Desire” to be aroused in the prospect by discussing the benefits of the food ingredient. And finally, A stood for “Action” as commitments desired from the prospect to make the purchase order or other steps further.

However, today the food ingredients are more complicated and our customers actually do not have the time to fully understand the detailed features of our ingredients. Hence, the customers depend on factors other than ingredient knowledge to make their buying decision.

Sales relationships today continue even after the sale is made and once the sale is made, the dependency of the customer increases on the sales person to deliver on their promises. A sales person today asks the customer to exchange money for promises alone. So, we term the ingredient sales done today as entering into ‘business marriage’.

Our customers want relationship first. The customers today put more faith in the relationship, than in the product and must be confident in the relationship before considering the ingredients you are offering. Simply put, the ingredient you are selling is available elsewhere, so the customer is under no pressure to buy from you. What he doesn’t get everywhere is the security and safety of buying. The best statement while selling for you is “You get me and my commitment, when you buy this ingredient from me.”

An important psychological law that functions in today’s selling model is called “The Law of Indirect Effort”, which says you get things more indirectly, than directly from people. If you focus only on the sale rather than the relationship, you will end up with neither. Whereas, if you focus intensely on the relationship, the sale will take care of itself. If the relationship is strong enough, small details or price differences won’t matter. However, if relationship is weak, these same small details and price differences will become the main topic of discussion.

The New Model of Selling divides the sales process in 4 parts:
  1. Trust — establishing a high level of trust with the client is fully 40% of the sales process;
  2. Needs — taking time to be absolutely clear about the customer’s needs and problems is fully 30% of the sales process;
  3. Presentation — showing that your product or service will satisfy the customer’s needs is only 20% of the new model of selling;
  4. Closing the Sale — when you have built trust, clarified needs, and presented professionally, the closing is easy. It only represents 10% of the process.

The great rule of selling is “Listening Builds Trust”. When you listen to the answers to you open questions, you build trust. When you listen and understand the customer’s situation and needs, you build trust. When you listen to the reactions, during the presentation of your ingredient benefits, you build trust. When you listen carefully to the answer to your decision-seeking question, you build trust. Our key advice is: listen 75% of the time or more!

Another part of business relationship is the “Friendship Factor”. No customer can buy from someone he/she doesn’t like and achieving friendship with salesperson means that you will be acting in the customer’s best interest. The 3 keys to develop liking in any relationships are Time, Caring and Respect. The more quantity time you invest in a relationship, the stronger it develops. The more you care about the other person in your relationship, the stronger it develops. And finally, the more respect you show to the other person in your relationship, the stronger it develops.

Hence, we conclude that “Key to successful selling is Relationship”. All top salespeople are relationship experts and the single most important aspect of selling is to build and maintain quality relationship.



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