GPI 170 – Share cost savings with your customer; help him out and he may reciprocate.

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Share cost savings ideas with your customers.  This may seem difficult to do, a conflict of interest or something uneasy to discuss, but sharing great cost reduction ideas with your customers makes a lot of sense.  It probably will not hurt your chances to get more work either.

Clearly list your cost savings for the customer. You can list those ideas in handout form, on your website if you wish, or provide them directly to your sales representatives to hand directly to their buyers.  Tell them what they will save. These ideas to save money can be mailed, emailed, dropped off or verbally given when the opportunity arises.  It may be a good reason to speak to the buyer and check on his needs at the same time.

Every time you see a buyer, hand them a savings. If their buyers are impressed by the ideas given freely by your sales representatives, they will want to see them more often and will be less likely to turn down offers to meet.  What type of ideas would your buyers appreciate?  Review this listing to generate some ideas and soon you will think of those you offer yourself.

Some examples of cost reduction ideas to pass on to customers:

  • Tips to save on property taxes.  Many times, purchasing personnel are linked to their inventory personnel so this will be welcomed if offered.
  • Unique federal tax deductions for the current year.  The buyers may be interested in this to pass on to their accounting or tax department or they may not.  This depends upon the size of the company.  Small business owners who act as their company’s buyer will appreciate this.
  • Unique capital depreciation write-off opportunities about to expire.  If the buyer is involved with buying fixed assets (i.e. Computers, equipment, vehicles, etc.), he may be unaware of tax laws that change as of the 1st of January so he may appreciate the information.
  • Common purchases opportunities.  If you know your buyer purchases the same raw material that you do and you are aware of a company that is deeply discounting their stock to get it moved before yearend, you may want to let the buyer know of this opportunity.  If he is on any incentive program to drive down unit costs, he will appreciate the notification and company name and telephone number.  This is a great double hit; a plus for your vendor and a plus for your client.
  • Freight company discounts.  Some freight companies offer discounts to their customers who forward them to new customers.  If you are smart, tell the freight company you are forgoing the discount and you want your buyer to get it.  Inform the buyer of this opportunity and make some point with him.
  • Offer your vendors to your buyers for competitive bids.  Tell the buyer when he wants competitive bids for non-associated products and services to call you and you will forward your vendors to him.  Tell him you will instruct your vendors they must give him an excellent deal because he is your customer.  Your vendors will get the message and appreciate the potential business.  Make your referral work for you.
  • Banking opportunities sometimes arise.  Your loan representative for your company may approach you with cheap money and offer to pay off all of your higher interest rate loans at a low rate.  This offer may also be eligible to outside firms as well so this would be an opportunity to pass this on to a customer if it seemed attractive.

Allow your customer to decide if they wish to make the contact. In the case where a buyer may not express interest, never give your vendors’ names out first.  First tell your customers you want to help them potentially get more business or save money.  Allow them to agree first. Once you have their permission, only then forward their contact information to your client.

Do not ‘push’ your customer; let him decide.  You do not want a vendor bothering your customer when it is unwelcome.  Tell the customer, “Here is the contact information if you decide you would be interested.  Never worry, I do not give your name out unless you tell me first.  It is your decision if you wish to make the contact.” The buyer will appreciate your professionalism.

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