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Chapter Three — Understanding Buyers Learning Objectives 3-1 Categorize the primary types of buyers, and discuss the distinguishing characteristics of business markets. 3-2 List the steps in the business-to-business buying process. 3-3 Discuss the different types of buyer needs. 3-4 Describe how buyers evaluate suppliers and alternative sales offerings by using the multi attribute model of evaluation. 3-5 Explain the two-factor model that buyers use to evaluate the performance of sales offerings and develop satisfaction. 3-6 Explain the different types of purchasing decisions. 3-7 Describe the four communication styles and how salespeople must adapt their own styles to maximize communication. 3-8 Explain the concept of buying teams and specify the different member roles. 3-9 Identify current developments in purchasing. Chapter Outline Introduction-55 3-1 Types of Buyers-56 Distinguishing Characteristics of Business Markets-56 Concentrated Demand-56 Derived Demand-58 Higher Levels of Demand Fluctuation-58 Purchasing Professionals-58 Multiple Buying Influences-58 3-2 The Buying Process-59 Phase One—Recognition of the Problem or Need: The Needs Gap-61 3-3 Types of Buyer Needs-62 Phase Two—Determination of Characteristics of the Item and the Quantity Needed-63 Phase Three—Description of the Characteristics of the Item and Quantity Needed-64 Phase Four—Search for and Qualification of Potential Sources-65 Phase Five—Acquisition and Analysis of Proposals-65 3-4 Procedures for Evaluating Suppliers and Products-66 Assessment of Product or Supplier Performance-66 Accounting for Relative Importance of Each Characteristic-67 Employing Buyer Evaluation Procedures to Enhance Selling Strategies-67 Phase Six—Evaluation of Proposals and Selection of Suppliers-69 Phase Seven—Selection of an Order Routine-69 Phase Eight—Performance Feedback and Evaluation-69 3-5 Understanding Post purchase Evaluation and the Formation of Satisfaction-70 The Growing Importance of Salespeople in Buyers’ Post purchase Evaluation-71 3-6 Types of Purchasing Decisions-71 Straight Rebuys-72 New Tasks-72 Modified Rebuys-73 3-7 Understanding Communication Styles-73 Mastering Communication Style Flexing-76 3-8 Buying Teams-77 3-9 Current Developments in Purchasing-79 Increasing Use of Information Technology-79 Buyers’ Access to and Demand for Relevant Information-79 Relationship Emphasis on Cooperation and Collaboration-80 Supply Chain Management-80 Increased Outsourcing-81 Target Pricing-81 Increased Importance of Knowledge and Creativity-82 Appendix Chapter 3: Recommended Flexing Behaviour for Different Communication Styles-84 Selling Task or Objective-84 Chapter 3 Case-88 Chapter 3 Role Play-90 Exercises Developing Professional Selling Knowledge Exercises 1. How might the following characteristics of business-to-business markets affect the relational selling activities of salespeople? Larger, but fewer, buyers? Since the market consists of larger, but fewer, buyers, each customer (or potential customer) relationship is extremely important. This means that salespeople will need to be more flexible and allocate more resources (i.e., time and money) to develop and maintain the relationship. Derived demand? Salespeople selling products characterized as having a derived demand will need to monitor the markets of products from which the demand for theirs is derived. This will allow salespeople to anticipate demand shifts and then help their customers plan accordingly. Higher levels of demand fluctuation? Similar to the effects of derived demand, salespeople will need to anticipate demand fluctuations and then help their customers plan for those fluctuations by adjusting inventory accordingly. Since customers will value salespeople who can help them avoid having too much or too little inventory, the ability to correctly anticipate demand fluctuations will help salespeople forge stronger relationships. 2. How do the three different types of purchasing decisions (straight rebuy, modified rebuy, new task) influence the time and effort a buyer might allocate to the different steps of the purchase decision process? Generally speaking, as the type of purchasing decision moves from being characterized as straight rebuy to modified rebuy to new task, the amount of time and effort spent in the purchase decision process increases. In straight rebuy situations, it is not uncommon for the purchase decision to immediately follow the recognition of need. For example, a taxi driver low on fuel will stop at a gas station with little consideration given to the different brands or types (e.g., octane rating) of fuels available. In contrast, when in new task situations, the person recognizing the need often does not know how to fill the need. Consequently, they will spend much more time gathering information and evaluating alternatives. For example, businesses buying new phone systems will often spend weeks (or months) trying to determine their telecommunications needs (the first step in the purchase decision process). 3. List and compare the probable functional, situational, psychological, social, and knowledge needs of (a) a large financial investment office and (b) a college student, both of whom are looking to purchase a new computer printer. (a) For a large financial investment office, functional needs might include high-speed printing capabilities, duplex printing for efficiency, and compatibility with accounting software. Situational needs could involve network connectivity for multiple users and secure printing features. Psychological needs may prioritize reliability and professional appearance. Social needs could include compatibility with existing office equipment and seamless integration into workflow systems. Knowledge needs might revolve around maintenance requirements and troubleshooting procedures. (b) In contrast, a college student's functional needs may center on affordability, ease of use, and space-saving design. Situational requirements might involve wireless printing for convenience in dorm rooms or shared living spaces. Psychological needs could include aesthetics and the ability to print high-quality photos for projects. Social needs may focus on compatibility with personal devices like laptops and smartphones, as well as peer recommendations. Knowledge needs might revolve around setup simplicity and access to online resources for technical support. 4. How might a salesperson work with and assist a business buyer in each step of the buying process? Recognition of the problem or need? The role of many salespeople is to help potential customers recognize needs. The salesperson can accomplish this task by asking need identifying questions (covered later in the text) and listening closely to and flowing with the buyer’s answers. Determination of the characteristics of the item and the quantity needed? After helping a customer recognize needs, the salesperson may be in a position to help the buyer determine the characteristics of the solution. In order to be effective in this role, the buyer must perceive the salesperson as possessing expertise in the related area. Description of the characteristics of the item and the quantity needed? A salesperson with related expertise may help the buyer develop detailed specifications for the solution. As mentioned above, this would require the buyer to have a great deal of trust in the salesperson’s expertise. Search for and qualification of potential sources? Salespeople often serve as an important source of information for buyers. In this step, salespeople can help the buyer identify potential sources of the proposed solution. Of course, the objective of the salesperson is to make sure his or her organization is considered one of those sources (given the organization can provide an appropriate solution). Acquisition and analysis of proposals? Salespeople need to understand the evaluation criteria so they can present their proposal in the best light possible. Better yet, salespeople working closely with the buyer through the earlier stages may have the opportunity to help shape the evaluation criteria. They then must make sure that their proposed solution meets or exceeds those criteria. Evaluation of proposals and selection of suppliers? In this stage, a trusted salesperson may be able to influence the evaluation of the proposals and selection of the suppliers. However, a salesperson in such a trusted position has an ethical obligation to ensure the best interests of the customers supersede his or her own interests. Selection of an order routine? Once identified as the selected solution provider, the salesperson may work with a buyer to determine the best order process. The salesperson must ensure that both the buyer and the selling organization understand and are able to meet their respective obligations associated with the delivery process. Performance feedback and evaluation? This stage requires salespeople to follow up with their customers (after purchase) to ensure the buyer’s expectations have been met or exceeded. If not, the salesperson needs to address the unmet expectations immediately. This stage is crucial to the long-term success of the relationship. 5. Explain the role of functional attributes and psychological attributes in the post-purchase determination of customer satisfaction. Functional attributes refer to the features that allow the product to do what it is supposed to do, and the extent to which it does it as expected. Products not performing as expected will have a negative effect on customer satisfaction. Products performing better than expected will have a positive effect on customer satisfaction. Psychological attributes refer to the things in the market offer that shape the buyer’s feelings about the acquisition process and the relationship with the salesperson. For example, at the buyer’s request, the salesperson may make last minute delivery schedule changes that he or she is not otherwise obligated to do. Generally speaking, the stronger the psychological attributes, the greater the customer satisfaction. 6. How might salespeople use their knowledge of the multi attribute evaluation model to plan and deliver their sales presentations to a buyer? Salespeople may use their knowledge of the multi attribute evaluation model in several ways to help plan and deliver their sales presentations. For example, salespeople may adjust their presentation so that they highlight the heavier-weighted attributes and reduce the time spent on lower-weighted attributes. Other ways salespeople may use this information include 1) modifying the product offering being proposed, 2) altering the buyer’s beliefs about the proposed offering, 3) altering the buyer’s beliefs about the competitor’s offering, 4) altering the importance weights, and 5) calling attention to neglected attributes. 7. What are the implications for a salesperson if, when making a sales call, he or she discovers that there is no needs gap present? Illustrate your answer with an example. Answers to the question will vary. However, the student should demonstrate understanding of the salesperson’s ability to help buyers uncover needs that they did not previously recognize. Salespeople often call on customers who do not yet realize they have a need for the salesperson’s product. If a salesperson discovers no needs gap during a sales call, it implies the product or service may not align with the prospect's requirements or priorities. For example, if a salesperson pitching high-end graphic design software to a small accounting firm realizes they only need basic bookkeeping software, it suggests a mismatch in needs. In such cases, the salesperson should pivot the conversation towards understanding the prospect's goals and offering solutions that address their actual needs or pain points. 8. Why has knowledge and the capability to creatively apply that knowledge in creating unique solutions become so important for today’s salesperson in the business-to-business marketplace? As markets become more competitive and technology (e.g., e-commerce) improves, salespeople will have to “add value” to their relationships in order to be successful. The ability of salespeople to solve problems is an important means by which they can add value to their customer relationships. In addition, the increased competition brought by globalization requires salespeople to be more creative so that they can meaningfully differentiate their market offers. 9. Explain the concept of communication styles and how a salesperson might flex his or her own style to better match the style of the buyer. How would the salesperson’s behaviours and activities differ as he or she advances through the different stages of the selling process? Illustrate your answer with examples. The concept of communication styles suggests individuals possess different psychological predispositions to communication. The text covers two different dimensions that allow individuals to be categorized into one of four categories. The two dimensions are assertiveness and responsiveness. The resulting four communication styles are amiable—low on assertiveness and high on responsiveness; expressive—high on responsiveness and assertiveness; drivers—low on responsiveness and high on assertiveness; and analytical—low on both responsiveness and assertiveness. The salesperson needs to flex his or her communication style based on the communication style of the buyer. This does not mean mirroring the buyer, necessarily; rather, it means adopting a style that enhances communication and moves the sales process in the desired direction. Communication styles refer to the preferred ways individuals convey and receive information, typically categorized into four main types: analytical, driver, amiable, and expressive. A successful salesperson adapts their style to align with the buyer’s communication preferences, enhancing rapport and understanding. 1. Analytical Style: These buyers value data, details, and logic. A salesperson should provide thorough research, detailed reports, and precise answers. For example, in the early stages, they might present detailed product specifications and ROI analyses. 2. Driver Style: Drivers are results-oriented and decisive. A salesperson should be concise, direct, and focus on outcomes. In the middle stages, the salesperson might highlight efficiency improvements and quick implementation timelines. 3. Amiable Style: Amiable buyers prioritize relationships and trust. A salesperson should build a personal connection, show empathy, and emphasize teamwork. Early interactions might involve more informal meetings and discussions about long-term support and service. 4. Expressive Style: Expressive buyers seek enthusiasm and vision. A salesperson should be energetic, use stories and visuals, and discuss innovative aspects. During presentations, they might use dynamic visuals and share success stories to inspire the buyer. As the salesperson progresses through the selling process, their behaviors and activities adjust accordingly. Initially, they focus on understanding the buyer’s style and needs. In the middle stages, they tailor their communication to align with the buyer’s preferences, addressing specific concerns and highlighting relevant benefits. Finally, in the closing stages, they reinforce the relationship by ensuring the buyer feels understood and valued, using a communication style that resonates most effectively. Example: A salesperson is selling a new robotic arm to a manufacturing firm. The firm’s engineering manager (analytical) needs detailed specs and ROI calculations, while the operations head (driver) wants to know how quickly the robotic arm can be operational. The HR manager (amiable) is concerned about training and employee impacts, and the CEO (expressive) is excited by the innovation and long-term vision. The salesperson adjusts their communication for each, ensuring a comprehensive and tailored approach throughout the sales process. 10. What are the implications of buying teams for a salesperson selling complex production equipment to a manufacturing firm? Develop an example to explain further and illustrate your answer. Buying teams in manufacturing firms involve multiple stakeholders, each with specific concerns and priorities, making the sales process more complex. For instance, a salesperson selling advanced CNC machines must address the technical requirements of engineers, the budget constraints of finance, and the operational impacts for production managers. Engaging with each team member ensures their needs are met, fostering trust and aligning the solution with the firm's overall goals, thereby increasing the likelihood of a successful sale. Group Activity In many ways, recruiting is a lot like buying a product. Accordingly, the recruiting process is very similar to the buying process. The purpose of this section of the Guide is to help students understand the recruiting process from the recruiter’s perspective. To complete this section, students need to do two things. First, they need to identify the type of job they would like to obtain after graduation. Second, they are to describe each of the phases of the buying process (outlined in the chapter) in the context of recruiting for their desired position. For example, in phase one, they would describe how the position became available. In phase two they would describe the qualifications and desirable characteristics the recruiter will look for in candidates. Students should continue the exercise all the way through phase eight, describing the impact of their first year’s performance on the recruiters’ assessment of other graduates of their institution. The purpose of this exercise is to help students think through the buying decision process in a way that is or will be meaningful to them. In addition, this exercise should better prepare students for the job search process. Experiential Exercises Key Questions During the Buying Decision Process Objective: Your students will be able to understand the importance of good, effective questioning. Time Required: 10 to 15 minutes Teaching Tip: Have students work individually or in small groups to answer the questions. For each question, have students explain why the question is important. 1. Who, besides you, will be making the decision to buy? This question identifies all decision-makers involved, ensuring the salesperson addresses each stakeholder's concerns and influences. Understanding the full decision-making team allows for tailored presentations and solutions, increasing the likelihood of a successful sale. Additionally, it helps in planning follow-up communications and strategizing effectively to meet the needs of all parties. 2. What problems do you foresee in changing suppliers? This question uncovers potential obstacles or hesitations the buyer might have, allowing the salesperson to proactively address these concerns. Understanding these problems helps in providing solutions, building trust, and demonstrating the salesperson’s commitment to a smooth transition. It also highlights the buyer's priorities and potential deal-breakers, guiding the salesperson in tailoring their proposal. Identifying such issues early ensures better preparation and a stronger case for switching suppliers. 3. What do we need to do to win the support of others? This question helps identify the concerns and requirements of other stakeholders involved in the decision-making process. Understanding these needs allows the salesperson to tailor their approach, addressing specific concerns and highlighting relevant benefits. It fosters collaboration and ensures that all key players feel valued and heard. By aligning the proposal with the interests of all stakeholders, the salesperson increases the likelihood of gaining widespread support and successfully closing the deal. 4. When would you plan to make the purchase decision? This question helps establish the buyer's timeline, allowing the salesperson to align their sales process and follow-ups accordingly. Understanding the decision timeframe enables the salesperson to prioritize activities, manage expectations, and prepare timely responses. It also helps in identifying any urgency or delays in the purchasing process. By knowing the timeline, the salesperson can coordinate internal resources and support, ensuring a smooth progression towards closing the sale. 5. What sense of urgency do you feel about this buying decision? This question gauges the buyer's urgency, helping the salesperson prioritize their efforts and tailor their approach. Understanding the level of urgency can indicate the buyer's pain points and the criticality of the solution. If the urgency is high, the salesperson can expedite the process and focus on quick wins. Conversely, if the urgency is low, they can take a more consultative approach, providing thorough information and building a stronger relationship. This insight ensures that the salesperson aligns their strategy with the buyer's timeline and needs. 6. Other important questions? 1. What are your main concerns or potential obstacles with this purchase? This question helps the salesperson address specific fears or challenges, increasing the chances of overcoming objections and closing the deal. 2. Who will be using this product, and what are their needs? Understanding the end-users' requirements ensures the solution is practical and beneficial, enhancing user satisfaction and adoption. Video Exercise Understanding Buyers Scene 1B, Meeting the Seasoned Pro, run time 2:49 minutes. Business-to-business markets are, in many ways, more complex than consumer markets with regard to the sales function. Review this segment and comment on the characteristics of this sales situation and where the customer is in the buying process. Ask your students: 1. Comment on the assertiveness and responsiveness communication style in this interaction between Jim and Mark. Students’ answers about the interaction between Jim and Mark will vary somewhat, but should include appropriate justification. Students may notice that neither Jim nor Mark appears to be very low on assertiveness. Mark is candid with Jim about seeking a proposal from another supplier (introducing conflict), and Jim doesn’t hesitate to suggest Mark purchase the top-end system (which includes an increase in cost). Some students may perceive Mark as higher on responsiveness than Jim. Mark seems to be informal, animated, and emotional. In contrast, Jim appears to me more guarded and controlled. In the interaction between Jim and Mark, Jim displays a high level of assertiveness, confidently driving the conversation and steering it towards business needs and solutions. Mark, on the other hand, shows high responsiveness by actively listening, engaging with Jim’s points, and expressing his concerns and needs. This dynamic demonstrates an effective balance where Jim’s assertiveness ensures the conversation stays focused on objectives, while Mark’s responsiveness fosters a collaborative and understanding atmosphere. This combination helps in addressing key issues and moving the buying process forward effectively. 2. Discuss the buying influences that are impacting Mark’s decision making in this sales situation. Mark’s upper management is pressuring him about controlling costs. This is forcing him to consider multiple bidders. In addition, Mark is feeling the pressure from the situation; he has a relatively urgent need for upgraded security to protect the company’s intellectual property rights. Finally, he is feeling pressure from another supplier. Chapter 3 Case Relationships First Inc. Background Relationships First, Inc. is a relatively new entrant in the cloud computing business management software industry, having been in existence for a little over four years. It specializes in providing Web-based customizable customer relationship management software solutions that support an entire company, from accounting to Web capabilities. Its software is constructed around an individual customer record so that accounting, sales, support, shipping, and billing all access identical information for each interaction. The company currently serves a variety of businesses across a number of industries. Customer satisfaction is the company’s top priority, and it acts with integrity to fulfill this mission. Its technology is easy to learn and easy to use, and its information technology staff is extremely knowledgeable and customer friendly. The company currently employs more than 75 salespeople who call directly on businesses and organizations throughout Canada. Salespeople are trained to be customer-oriented problem solvers who seek to establish long-term relationships with customers. This approach has allowed Relationships First to experience steady sales gains since its beginning, and it hopes to continue its upward growth trajectory. Current Situation Dawn, a recent college graduate who just completed the sales rep training program at Relationships First, is excited about her upcoming meeting with Red Meadows Nursery and Landscape, LLC of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Privately owned, Red Meadows serves the nursery and landscaping needs of its customers through its two large metro retail locations. Each location has a store manager and several full- and part-time employees to assist with sales and operations. The company’s owner serves as president and they also employ a director of marketing and sales, who among other things oversees a staff of five outside salespeople, a director of operations, a director of information technology (whose primary responsibility is to run the Web side of their business), and a director of accounting and finance. The outside sales force solicits both residential and commercial accounts and in large part is responsible for growing the nonretail business for Red Meadows. A good friend of Dawn’s, Kristen Lewis, happens to be neighbours with Adam Kean, Red Meadows director of marketing and sales. In a recent conversation with Adam, Kristen mentioned Dawn and how she might be able to help him at Red Meadows. Adam suggested that Kristen have Dawn give him a call and subsequently Dawn was able to secure a meeting with Adam Kean the following Tuesday morning. Dawn was delighted that Kristen provided her with this prospect and was confident that this would help her get off to a fast start at Relationships First. Dawn has been friends with Kristen since grade school. This is not unusual for Dawn, who has many friends and close relationships, likely because she shows such a sincere interest in others, particularly in their hobbies, interests, family, and mutual friends. She enjoys listening to the opinions of others and seems to get along with most everyone, generally avoiding conflict rather than submitting to others. Dawn credits her abilities to communicate well orally (she loves to talk and socialize), get along well with others, and build a consensus, in part, for her landing a position in sales at Relationships First. Prior to her meeting with Adam Kean, Dawn asked Kristen if she could meet her for lunch to find out a little more about Adam and Red Meadows. When Dawn finally arrived for lunch, late as usual, she wasn’t able to learn as much about Red Meadows as she would have liked, but she did learn the following about Adam. Kristen indicated that Adam was a good neighbour, but he certainly wasn’t a friendly, outgoing relationship builder such as Dawn. In fact, he tended to be rather cool, tough, and competitive when it came to relationships. He liked to be in charge of people and situations and was not willing to let others stand in the way of achieving his goals. Adam manages his time well, is impatient with others, and tends to be very businesslike. He likes extreme sports and appears to have a penchant for taking risks. According to Kristen, at annual home owners’ association meetings, Adam tends to be the most outspoken individual in attendance. While opinionated, Adam rarely takes advice from others and prefers to make his own decisions. Although Dawn believed she still had additional work to do before meeting with Adam, she was at least glad to know a little bit about the person she would be meeting. The more she knew about her buyer, she surmised, the better she could tailor her offering to meet his needs. Questions 1. Based on your understanding of both Dawn and Adam, how would you characterize the communication style of each? Dawn is an Amiable. She is low on assertiveness and high on responsiveness. Adam is a Driver. He is high on assertiveness and low on responsiveness. 2. What, if any, preparations and style flexing should Dawn make to better relate to and communicate with Adam Strong? Students’ answers will vary but should include Dawn’s recognition that Adam is a Driver. Accordingly, Dawn must work on becoming more businesslike—being punctual and reducing or eliminating discussion unrelated to the task at hand. When communicating, Dawn must make sure her messages are clear and concise. She should describe solutions in terms of “results” important to Adam. When presenting supporting evidence, she should stick to facts and figures, and avoid using the opinions of others (e.g., testimonials). She should recognize that Adam is a risk-taker and give him the opportunity to make decisions quickly. She must also not be offended or discouraged by Adam’s cold/controlling behaviour. Finally, she must guard against being “pushed around” by Adam when it comes to earning commitment and negotiation. Dawn should prepare by focusing on concise, business-focused communication to align with Adam's direct and time-efficient style. She should emphasize the practical benefits and results of Relationships First's software solutions, highlighting their efficiency and effectiveness. Flexing her style to match Adam's assertive and results-oriented approach will help Dawn build rapport and credibility, positioning her as a valuable problem-solver aligned with his goals. She should also be prepared to engage in discussions about practical applications and potential risks, demonstrating her understanding of Adam's preferences and concerns. 3. Who all might be involved in the buying decision for Red Meadows with regard to Dawn’s offering? For each, explain why and how? Students’ answers will vary but should include some mention of the President (owner), the Director of Operations, the Director of Information Technology, and the Director of Accounting and Finance. Students may mention the store managers and outside salespeople, but their participation in terms of real significance would most likely be negligible. It’s likely that the President will be the decision maker and the various Directors serving as Users and Influencers. Adam will likely serve as a User, Gatekeeper, and Influencer. Sharper students will likely point out that the extent to which the other Directors are involved will depend upon their respective social styles. For Red Meadows, the buying decision might involve several key stakeholders: 1. Adam Kean (Director of Marketing and Sales): As the primary contact for Dawn, Adam holds authority over purchasing decisions and is likely concerned with improving sales and operational efficiency through software solutions. 2. President/Owner: With ultimate authority, the president/owner is involved to ensure the solution aligns with the company's overall strategy and goals, particularly in terms of customer satisfaction and operational effectiveness. 3. Director of Operations and Information Technology: They are involved to assess the technical feasibility and compatibility of the software with Red Meadows' existing systems and processes, ensuring seamless integration and functionality. 4. Director of Accounting and Finance: This stakeholder evaluates the financial aspects, including cost-effectiveness, ROI, and budget allocation, ensuring that the purchase aligns with the company's financial objectives. 5. Store Managers and Staff: As end-users, their input might be sought to assess usability, functionality, and the impact on day-to-day operations, ensuring that the software meets their needs and facilitates their tasks efficiently. 4. Explain at least two needs that might be met by Red Meadows by purchasing the software offered by Relationships First. 1. Efficiency in Customer Data Management: Red Meadows can benefit from the software's centralized customer record system, which streamlines data management across departments like sales, support, and billing. This ensures consistent and accurate information, leading to improved customer service and streamlined operations. 2. Enhanced Sales and Marketing Integration: The software's customizable CRM solutions can facilitate better coordination between Red Meadows' marketing and sales teams, enabling targeted marketing campaigns based on customer insights and seamless lead management, ultimately leading to increased sales and revenue growth. Role Play Situation: Read the case Characters: Dawn, salesrep for Relationships First Inc.; Adam Kean, director of marketing and sales, Red Meadows Nursery and Landscape, LLC. Scene: Location—Adam Kean’s office at Red Meadows; Action—Dawn meets with Adam to find out more about Red Meadows operations and needs to see if she can help them. She is also trying to determine who else might be involved in the buying decision and what influence each might have. She has no plan to make a sale on this call. Chapter 3 Role Play Cape Breton Computer Corporation Background As a salesperson for Cape Breton Computer Corporation (CBCC), you have just received a call from your regional manager regarding a program now underway at one of your key accounts, Farmland Companies. Farmland is a national insurance company with agency offices spread across Canada. The company is in the early stages of designing and specifying a computer system that will place a computer in each agency office. The system will allow each agency to develop, operate, and maintain its own customer database to provide better service to customers. In addition, by linking through the CBCC mainframe, agencies, regional offices, and CBCC headquarters will be networked for improved internal communications and access to the corporate database. Current Situation You have serviced this account for several years, and CBCC equipment accounts for the biggest share of computers now in place at Farmland—some 35 to 40 percent of all units. As reflected in your share of this account’s business, you and CBCC have a good reputation and strong relationship with Farmland. In talking with Aimee Linn, your usual contact in the Farmland purchasing office, you have learned that this agency network system is the brainstorm and pet project of Mike Hughes, a very “hands-on” CEO. Consequently, the probability of the system becoming a reality is high. While faxing a complete set of hardware specs to you, Linn has also let you know that, although Kerri Nicks, director of the Farmland MIS department, is actually heading up this project; the national agency sales director, Ravi Singh, is also very active in its design and requirement specifications. His interest stems not only from wanting to make sure that the system will do what is needed at the corporate, regional, and agency levels but also from the fact that he brainstormed and spearheaded a similar project two years ago that was never implemented. The previous effort did not have the blessing of Nicks in the MIS department, and it became a political football between the two departments. Each department wanted something different, and both sides accused the other of not knowing what it was doing. Primarily, because the CEO has commanded that it will be done, both sides seem to be playing ball with each other this time. Linn did hint at one concern, however; although corporate is designing and specifying the system, each agency has to purchase its units out of its own funds. Although the agencies exclusively represent only Farmland Insurance products, each agency is owned by the general agent, not Farmland. Some of the agents are not convinced that the system is worth the projected price tag of $3,500 per system, and Farmland cannot force them to buy the systems. As with other selling opportunities with Farmland, this has all the makings of a decision that will be made as a result of multiple inputs from an assortment of individuals across the company—a buying team of sorts. As the salesperson having primary responsibility for this account, how would you go about identifying the various members of the buying centre? Questions 1. Identify each member of the buying centre and the role each participant plays, and estimate the amount of influence (low, medium, high, very high) each has on the final decision. 1. Tom Penders (Administrator): Role - Decision Maker. Influence: Very High. As the primary contact and overseer of the copier replacement project, Tom has the final say in the decision. 2. Office Professionals: Role - Users. Influence: Medium. They will use the copiers daily and can provide valuable input on practical needs and preferences. 3. Assistant to Tom: Role - Influencer/Coordinator. Influence: Medium. Helps gather information and may influence Tom’s perception and decision. 4. Director of Operations: Role - Technical Expert. Influence: High. Responsible for ensuring the copiers meet the technical and operational requirements of the office. 5. Director of Finance: Role - Financial Advisor. Influence: High. Evaluates the financial implications, ensuring the purchase fits within budget constraints and provides good value. 2. What are the major problems, needs, and expectations that you will need to address for each of the buying centre members? 1. Tom Penders (Administrator): Problems/Needs: Ensuring the copiers are reliable and efficient for the entire office, supporting future expansion. Expectations: Detailed information on product reliability, cost-effectiveness, and how they meet the office’s growth needs. 2. Office Professionals (Users): Problems/Needs: Easy-to-use copiers with minimal downtime and high-quality output. Expectations: User-friendly interface, reliability, and efficient support for their daily tasks. 3. Assistant to Tom (Influencer/Coordinator): Problems/Needs: Smooth implementation and minimal disruption to office operations during the transition. Expectations: Comprehensive training and support from the vendor. 4. Director of Operations (Technical Expert): Problems/Needs: Copiers must integrate seamlessly with current systems and support high-volume usage. Expectations: Technical specifications, compatibility information, and assurance of operational efficiency. 5. Director of Finance (Financial Advisor): Problems/Needs: The solution must be cost-effective with clear financial benefits. Expectations: Detailed cost analysis, ROI projections, and justification for the investment. 3. As you complete the assignment, remember that a single individual can perform multiple roles in the centre. Furthermore, it is common to find more than one individual playing the same buying centre role. 1. Tom Penders (Administrator): Roles: Decision Maker and Gatekeeper. Problems/Needs: Ensuring copiers are reliable, efficient, and support expansion. Expectations: Detailed information on product reliability, cost-effectiveness, and future growth support. 2. Office Professionals (Users): Roles: Users and Influencers. Problems/Needs: Easy-to-use, reliable copiers with high-quality output. Expectations: User-friendly interface and minimal downtime. 3. Assistant to Tom (Influencer/Coordinator): Roles: Influencer and Gatekeeper. Problems/Needs: Smooth implementation with minimal disruption. Expectations: Comprehensive training and vendor support. 4. Director of Operations (Technical Expert): Roles: Technical Expert and Influencer. Problems/Needs: Seamless integration and high-volume support. Expectations: Technical specs, compatibility, and operational efficiency assurance. 5. Director of Finance (Financial Advisor): Roles: Financial Advisor and Influencer. Problems/Needs: Cost-effective solution with financial benefits. Expectations: Cost analysis, ROI projections, and investment justification. Students should answer the above questions by creating and using a worksheet like the one provided with the case. Answers will vary somewhat, but students’ answers should be logical and demonstrate understanding of how each of the case characters affects the purchase process. The following is a sample answer.
Buying Team Role Team Member Playing this Role Level of Influence Team Member’s Perceived Needs and Expectations
Initiators Mike Hughes High Needs a system that will provide the corporate office access to the information collected by general agents.
Ravi Singh High Needs a system that will connect the entire organization and provide him access to the sales-related information generated by the general agents.
Users General Agents Low* Need a system that will improve their productivity.
Ravi Singh High
Influencers Ravi Singh High
Kerri Nicks High Needs a system that will be easy to administer and maintain.
Purchasers Aimee Linn Low
General Agents Very High**
Deciders Ravi Singh High
Kerri Nicks High
Gatekeepers Aimee Linn Low Needs a vendor that will meet the needs of Farmland’s management and general agents.
* Regarding vendor selection ** regarding actual purchase of the individual systems
Role Play Note: Students may need to review the characteristics of the four communication styles and the discussion of communication style flexing prior to this role play and subsequent discussion. Characters: Yourself, salesperson for the Cape Breton Computer Corporation; Aimee Linn, purchasing manager for Farmland Companies; Kerri Nicks, director of MIS for Farmland Companies; Ravi Singh, national agency sales director for Farmland Companies; Mike Hughes, CEO of Farmland Companies. Scene 1: Location—Linn’s office at Farmland Companies. Action—You, as the Cape Breton Computer salesperson, are entering the first meeting with the Farmland buying team. Your goal for the first sales call is to establish rapport with each of the buying team members and identify the needs and expectations that will determine the purchases for this project. Identifying these needs and expectations is critical so that you can work with your own technology support people and develop a customized system as a solution to Farmland’s needs. Have students role play this first sales call. Ask the student playing the salesperson to demonstrate how they would (a) build rapport with the team members, (b) identify the needs and expectations the team members have for this information technology project, and (c) bridge the gap between the sales manager and the MIS director, who seemed to have killed the project once before. Scene 2: Location—Aimee Linn’s office at Farmland Companies. Action—Based on the needs and expectations discovered in your first sales call, you have worked with your support team at Cape Breton Computers to develop a customized system meeting Farmland’s primary need. You are now making a follow-up sales call for the purpose of presenting your proposed system and making the sale. After the students have completed the role play, address the following questions in class. 1. In what way would the different communication styles of the buying team members present complications in the critical stages of building rapport and discovering the buyers’ needs and expectations? The varied communication styles of buying team members could complicate rapport-building and needs discovery by: 1. Differing Priorities: Some team members may prioritize technical details (analytical style) while others focus on outcomes (driver style), leading to conflicting information and priorities during discussions. 2. Mismatched Engagement Levels: Salespersons might struggle to engage all team members effectively if some prefer concise, direct communication (driver style) while others seek more personal connections (amiable style). 3. Misunderstandings: Varied communication styles might lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of needs and expectations, hindering the sales process and delaying consensus building. 4. Time Constraints: Salespersons may find it challenging to accommodate the different communication speeds and preferences, potentially prolonging the rapport-building process and delaying progress towards uncovering needs. 5. Resistance to Change: Team members with different communication styles may exhibit varying levels of resistance to new ideas or solutions, requiring tailored approaches to address concerns and gain buy-in effectively. 2. How can a salesperson effectively build rapport with a team of different individuals who have large variations across their communication styles? A salesperson can effectively build rapport with a diverse team by: 1. Adapting Communication: Tailoring their approach to match each team member's communication style, whether analytical, driver, amiable, or expressive, to establish a connection based on understanding and resonance. 2. Active Listening: Demonstrating genuine interest and empathy towards each individual's concerns and preferences, fostering trust and rapport through attentive listening and validation. 3. Finding Common Ground: Identifying shared interests or goals among team members to bridge communication gaps and foster a sense of unity and collaboration. 4. Flexibility: Remaining adaptable and open-minded to accommodate varying communication speeds and preferences, ensuring all team members feel valued and understood. 5. Consistent Engagement: Maintaining consistent communication and engagement with all team members, demonstrating reliability and commitment to building relationships across diverse styles. 3. In a buying team situation, it is typical that certain needs will be championed by specific members, while other members will be vocal in support of other needs the solution must address. How might a salesperson best present the proposed package of features and benefits and recognize the relevant interests of the different buying team members? A salesperson can best present the proposed package of features and benefits by: 1. Customizing Presentations: Tailoring presentations to address the specific needs and interests championed by each buying team member, showcasing how the solution meets their unique requirements. 2. Highlighting Relevance: Emphasizing the features and benefits most relevant to each member's role or area of concern, demonstrating how the solution directly addresses their pain points or objectives. 3. Facilitating Discussion: Encouraging open dialogue and collaboration among team members to ensure all perspectives are heard and considered in shaping the proposed package. 4. Building Consensus: Seeking common ground and aligning the proposed solution with overarching goals or priorities shared by the entire buying team, fostering consensus and buy-in. 5. Follow-Up and Feedback: Following up with individual team members to address any remaining concerns or questions, and soliciting feedback to refine the proposal further and ensure it adequately meets the needs of all stakeholders. 4. What suggestions do you have for improving the presentation of the proposed solution and maximizing the positive involvement and buy-in of the different team members? To improve the presentation of the proposed solution and maximize positive involvement and buy-in of different team members, consider: 1. Interactive Demos: Offer hands-on demonstrations tailored to each member's role, showcasing how the solution directly benefits their responsibilities and workflows. 2. Case Studies: Present relevant case studies or success stories that resonate with each team member's industry or functional area, illustrating real-world outcomes and benefits. 3. Clear ROI: Articulate the return on investment (ROI) of the solution in terms of cost savings, revenue growth, or efficiency gains, aligning with the financial priorities of key stakeholders. 4. Address Concerns Proactively: Anticipate and address potential objections or concerns raised by different team members, demonstrating readiness to overcome obstacles and ensure a smooth implementation. 5. Engage Stakeholders: Encourage active participation and feedback from all team members throughout the presentation, fostering a collaborative environment and ensuring everyone feels heard and valued. Chapter 3 Continuing Case Understanding Tom Penders It was Monday afternoon and Brenda Smith was very excited. She just got off the phone with Tom Penders, the administrator in charge of a large medical office in her territory. After an introductory letter and several follow-up phone calls, Tom Penders finally agreed to meet with Brenda next Friday to discuss the possibility of replacing his organization’s old copiers, as well as adding new copiers to keep pace with his organization’s rapid growth. The primary purpose of the meeting was for Tom to learn more about the National Copier Company (NCC) and its products, and for Brenda to learn more about Tom’s company and its specific needs. When Brenda arrived about 10 minutes early for her meeting with Tom Penders at the medical offices on Friday, she was greeted by a receptionist who asked her to be seated. Ten minutes passed and Brenda was promptly shown to Tom’s office. Brenda couldn’t help but notice how organized Tom’s office was. It appeared to Brenda that Tom was a man of detail. First, Tom explained that the medical offices housed over 30 doctors specializing in a variety of fields. They occupied two floors and were planning to expand to the vacant third floor in the near future. Currently, they were organized into four divisions with an office professional assigned to approximately six doctors for each division. Each division ran its own office, with a separate copier and administrative facilities. Tom also had an assistant and a copier. After giving his overview, Tom provided Brenda with an opportunity to ask questions. After that, Tom systematically went down a list of questions he had about NCC, its products, and Brenda herself. Following this, Tom had his assistant take Brenda on a tour of the facility so she could overview their processes. Before leaving, Tom agreed to meet with Brenda in two weeks. Based on her conversation with Tom, Brenda did not find Tom to be a particularly personable individual. In fact, she found him to be somewhat cool and aloof, deliberate in both his communication and actions. Yet, Tom was willing to learn how NCC could help his medical office. Although Brenda preferred communicating with someone more personable and open, such as she was, she was determined to find a way to win Tom’s business. Questions 1. What type of communication style do you believe Tom exhibits? What are the characteristics of this communication style? Tom exhibits an analytical communication style. Characteristics of this style include being detail-oriented, methodical, and deliberate in both communication and actions. Analytical communicators tend to focus on facts, data, and logical reasoning rather than emotions or personal anecdotes. They may appear cool and aloof, prioritizing accuracy and precision in their interactions. 2. Based on your understanding of Tom’s communication style, outline a plan for selling to Tom Penders. To effectively sell to Tom Penders, Brenda should tailor her approach to match his analytical communication style: 1. Focus on Facts and Data: Present detailed information about NCC's copiers, emphasizing their technical specifications, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. 2. Address Tom's Concerns: Proactively anticipate and address Tom's questions and concerns, demonstrating NCC's expertise and commitment to meeting his organization's specific needs. 3. Be Methodical and Organized: Present information in a structured and organized manner, aligning with Tom's preference for systematic communication. 4. Emphasize Efficiency and Precision: Highlight how NCC's copiers can streamline operations and improve efficiency within Tom's medical office, emphasizing benefits in terms of time savings and productivity. 5. Build Credibility: Provide case studies or testimonials from satisfied customers to build credibility and reassure Tom of NCC's track record in delivering quality solutions. 3. Identify other members of Tom Penders’ organization that may play a role in the buying decision and explain the role they might play. How should Brenda handle these individuals? Tom’s assistant, along with the other office personnel from the four divisions may play some role in the process. Tom’s assistant is likely to be the primary gatekeeper. Accordingly, Brenda should make sure to keep her happy. Other personnel with whom Brenda may want to connect are the “users.” She will want to work with these people to better determine their needs. However, she needs to be careful when sharing what she learns with Tom. Tom won’t be interested in what others think. He will only be interested in factual information (e.g., usage data, cost data, and so forth) that will help him make the right decision. 4. Explain the types of buyers needs that will be most important in this selling situation. In this selling situation, the types of buyer needs that will be most important include: 1. Functional Needs: Tom's medical office requires copiers that can efficiently handle the organization's high-volume printing and copying demands while maintaining reliability and quality. 2. Operational Needs: Given the office's expansion plans and divisional structure, Tom needs copiers that can seamlessly integrate with existing workflows and support the office's administrative functions. 3. Financial Needs: Tom likely seeks cost-effective solutions that offer a good return on investment, balancing upfront costs with long-term savings and benefits. 4. Service and Support Needs: With a busy medical office, Tom values responsive customer service and reliable technical support to minimize downtime and ensure continuous operations. 5. Technological Needs: As the office grows, Tom may prioritize copiers with advanced features such as network connectivity, security features, and compatibility with electronic medical record systems. Solution Manual for SELL Thomas N. Ingram, Raymound W. (Buddy) LaForge, Ramon A. Avila, Charles H. Schwepker, Michael R. Williams, Kirby Shannahan 9780176622107

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