Companies like Aggregate Industries, that wish to move from merely selling their products to selling solutions, need to transform their core selling activities to focus more on value creation and less on value communication. We must continue to be less focused on pushing products and more focused on helping customers buy and use them. Furthermore, we need to continuously evaluate success and look for additional value creation opportunities with our customers. This in turn will help to underpin and ultimately strengthen our relationships. Our trading relationship with Elite Precast Concrete from Telford is a shining example of this type of behaviour, and it has undoubtedly proved mutually beneficial.
Understanding Your Customers’ Requirements
A solution salesperson must demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the customers’ business and industry. Clearly, we should understand our customers’ business environment fully and identify their problems and opportunities. Too often, this kind of practice is paid lip-service. Within this, the level of Customer service delivered must ensure you differentiate from the competition: the ‘call centre’ approach doesn’t work in our industry and this is where we can – and do – make a difference.
As salespeople, do we have a ‘shopkeeper culture’ where we sell commodities in abundance, offering little or no differentiation on quality or service and giving away easy discounts? Do we have a ‘negotiation culture’, where customer interaction is with the procurement team and the focus of the sales team is ‘where we need to be to win the business’? Or, do we have a ‘sales culture’, where the focus is on value rather than price, and on finding new customers for our offerings?
The Responsible Source
Despite the recent trend for seeking recycled alternatives, using a certified quarried product will always guarantee consistency of product quality with assurance of exactly what’s gone in and where the material came from. That is not to say we aren’t looking to deliver a sustainable solution for our customers – quite the opposite. We were the first company in the world to be certified to BES 6001, the framework for responsible sourcing of construction materials, by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). As such, our high-quality raw materials from the hardstone quarry at Haughmond Hill, Shrewsbury, have been supplied to Elite Precast Concrete for their premium interlocking blocks for a number of years now.
By Robin Jameson | Aggregate Industries