Pull the right strings on your buyers!
The sales process is tough, its rough, and it can be hard to navigate without knowing where to begin. We've talked to a lot of buyers over the years here, and we have compiled a list to help you out.
We have questions for 8 buyer types - those who like profits, value, turnover, service, dependability, advertising, and quality, Where applicable, we also included ways to appeal to that particular ethos.
Make sure when you're starting a conversation with a buyer to try to get an idea of what they prioritize in their stores.
Asking the right questions allows you to take on a more consulting tone instead of a selling tone. Consulting is much more effective than the hard close, so use these questions to stoke the conversation and get the buyer to tell you exactly how they want to be sold.
To help you in taking a more consultative approach, check out this report Silicon Valley Bank put out, it has a lot of insight on industry and consumer trends.
After you find out what kind of buyer they are, make sure they're qualified. We have a useful methodology for qualifying buyers here.
One more final note before you dive into these questions to ask - pricing is always an important factor in negotiations. You can check Southern's price book here to see how you stack up against the competition.
Questions for Profit and Value-Driven Buyers
1) What kind of margin does the client operate on for a promotional item?
2) Who are the client's key competitors for this promotion?
3) When does the client pass on temporary price reductions to their customers?
4) Benchmark against other similar products
5) How important is the price to the account's customers?
6) What about value?
7) Do their customers generally prefer the most prestigious brands, or do they prefer the best buy for the money?
8) In terms of wine/beer, and other alcoholic beverages, does the account tend to sell more less-expensive items or more higher-priced items? What is the ratio?
9) How does the client decide which products they're going to keep in distribution?
10) Does the client have any turnover guidelines or objectives they want to meet?
11) What are some products that you've discounted lately because of the slow turnover?
12) What promotions have they run that seemed to have the fastest turnover of product?
13) How important does the client think attractive packaging is to their customers?
14) What experiences can they share?
15) Do they make any merchandising decisions based on product packaging? If so, have them provide an example.
16) Are there any wine packages that the client thinks are particularly attractive? What about spirits?
17) Is the account trying to achieve a certain image where a particular brand can fit a niche?
18) Is the packaging convenient for the operator?
Appealing to Profit Orientated Buyers
Remind the client that as a winery, winery direct means more profit for them.
Support the claim with actual examples, using a chart to show how much profit the client might make. Show both profits per bottle and case.
When proposing merchandising, always show anticipated goss profit for the merchandising.
Questions for Service-Driven Buyers
19) What does the client expect from the sales representative
20) What is most important to them?
21) What are their most significant challenges?
22) What schedule works best for them?
23) Are there any special restrictions a sales representative should know about when handling these challenges?
Appealing to Service Orientated Buyers
Market/legal/union restrictions can dictate what you can or can't do to service an account
Questions for Buyers that want Dependability
24) How often do you expect to see me? (Or call, if you're in another state)
25) Which days work best for you?
26) What is the best number to reach the client if the regular schedule doesn't work for some reason?
27) DO they prefer calls or texts, or both?
Appealing to Buyers that Want Dependability
Remind the client of your regular calling schedule
Give examples of comments from other clients about your dependability.
Give each client a business card with all forms of contact in descending order (fastest contact first).
Commit that the customer will be contacted if any scheduling problems arise
Pick up the phone if there is a change in your schedule that will not allow you to meet their expectation.
Do what you say you are going to do
Questions for Buyers that Want Advertising
28) What advertising has provided the best sales?
29) What current advertising are thy most interested in?
30) Are there any advertising strategies they respond to?
31) What are the reach of the campaign and likely outcomes/results?
Appealing to Buyer's that Want Advertising
Show the account your merchandising strategies including the advertising schedules for advertised products.
Questions for Buyers that want Quality
32) Whats the image the client likes to project for their store/restaurant?
33) How important is product quality to them and/or their customers?
34) Are there any products they no longer sell because customers complained about their quality?
35) Have any customers complained about the quality of the wines or spirits currently sold?
Appealing to Buyers that Want Quality
Show the account awards, accolades, magazine write-ups that strengthen the quality of the product.
Questions for Buyers wanting Value and High Turnover in Product
36) How important is the price to the account's customers?
37) What about value?
38) Do their customers generally prefer the most prestigious brands, or do they prefer the best buy for the money?
39) In terms of wine/beer, and other alcoholic beverages, does the account tend to sell more less-expensive items or more higher-priced items? What is the ratio?
40) How does the client decide which products they're going to keep in distribution?
41) Does the client have any turnover guidelines or objectives they want to meet?
42) What are some products that you've discounted lately because of the slow turnover?
43) What promotions have they run that seemed to have the fastest turnover of product?
44) How important does the client think attractive packaging is to their customers?
45) What experiences can they share?
46) Do they make any merchandising decisions based on product packaging? If so, have them provide an example.
47) Are there any wine packages that the client thinks are particularly attractive? What about spirits?
48) Is the account trying to achieve a certain image where a particular brand can fit a niche?
49) Is the packaging convenient for the operator?
We hope this has helped you out. If you want to get started with a strategy that will get you more business, check out our guide to winery direct below!