The key issues of this case are the salesperson is lack of understanding customer, lack of preparation before interview, and lack of understanding the product itself. And solutions are required to solve is problem the salesperson in order to salvage the sale.
1. What mistaken did Susan make?
2. How should she have handled this sale?
According to the case, one of the mistaken that Susan did is lack of understanding her customer. She did not know the customer’s problem and needs deeply, but she only knows how to provide specification the product as well as list out the better result of the new product comparing to the old ones. Even though she satisfied purchasing manager (Arthur Speddon), however, she did not know that George Benlake (production manager) had experienced the problem of control before. Thus, she gets declined by the production manager due to failed to satisfy him (Blythe 2005, pg.106).
Susan should have handled this sale by following enhances framework of the business to business selling process (Wilkinson, J. W. 2003, pg. 14). Thus, Susan should identify and attempting to meet customer needs and wants. Besides, Susan could also use SPIN questions which enables aware an implied need of product manager on that product, then improve the product by solving the problem that the customer feels impelled to take action (Blythe 2005, pp.106-107). For example, she understands that the control of module press is pretty complicated and it may influence the production manager’s decision. So, Susan should learn the control of the product in order to explain it to the customer to satisfy them, and enable Susan to convince the customer more possible to be successful using this method (Hisrich and Jackson, 1993, pg. 60).
Besides that, Susan is lack of preparation before appointment with the customer. Although she had showed up the product to the customer before the competitor, however she can only show the brief ideas of the product for the customers only due to lack of proposal materials without anyone is supporting her. This may be hard for customer to the order by the customer immediately unless customer know the benefit of the product. “It’s important to remember that customers buy products and services because they want to solve a problem or meet a need.” (Kauffman Foundation 2007)
Thus, Susan should get fully prepare for presenting a proposal and attempting to win the business by gather the full material including copy of detail production drawings to the presentation, “The key is to think about the solutions and benefits your product provides and make sure they are prominent in every sales pitch you make” (Yaro 2006). Besides, she could form a cross-functional selling teams to match the customer needs by bring along the production people with her for assist on the explanation of the product details (Parker 2003, pg. 23). “A well-planned demonstration adds sensory appeal to the product” (Manning and Reece, 2001, p.242), thus, well planned presentation may help Susan to presents the product more effectively to the customer and wins the customer’s interest.
In addition, Susan is lack of understanding the product itself. Susan knows the features and specification it very well, yet, she knows nothing about the control of the product. “The prospect can evaluate the product or service more effectively” and “the salesperson can show what the product can do more effectively” (Manning and Reece, 2001, pg. 242). Thus, Susan should learn the control of the product in order to enhance understands the product, which helps her to present a more interesting proposal to attract her customer.
3. In your opinion, should the purchasing officer accept the recommendation of the production manager? Why, or why not?
Yes, purchasing officer should accept the recommendation of the production manager. Most of buyer decision is based on the individual needs and experience (Ingram et al. 2006,...