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BUILDING Partnerships 3.1 MANY TYPES OF BUYERS Camille Sandler sells products that help surgical patients regrow skin and other tissue. Several of her products are cutting-edge and Camille has found she has four types of buyers, based on how willing they are to con- sider such a futuristic solution. This categorization helps her determine how to sell, and in some cases, whom to avoid. "There are the early adopters—those who are eager to try new products and step out of the box to see what's new in the market. These buyers look for new ways to improve their business practices. Then there are the late adopters. These buyers buy products and services early on in the product life cycle but are not quite as eager to jump on the buying train as first adopters. After the late adopters come what you may call trend followers. When everyone else starts using a product and they see their colleagues buying it, then they too will become buyers. Lastly, there is the group that will never buy. They are not interested, nor will they ever be interested no matter how wonderful your product is. They are set in their ways and have no interest to change." Taylor Dixon covers eight states for 3M, selling consumer products like Post-It Notes and Scotch Tape—the opposite of futuristic products! To build better partnerships with her buyers, she first classifies them based on their interest, then changes her approach to match their buying style. "Certain buyers want to know WHY. Why should they buy my product? These buyers will say, 'Give me num- bers and proof that I'll make money with this product.' They want to know every little detail about the product from specs to country of origin. For calls with the WHY buyer I always have to make sure my analyst hat is on and I'm prepared with information to support bringing in this product. "Some buyers want to know WHEN. They've already accepted my product, perhaps because of the strong brand associated with it or because of our relationship. The questions they have is, 'When do I bring it in and when do I promote it?' They're interested in getting the most out of this new product as possible. For the WHEN buyer, I have to put on my marketer hat. It's extremely important that I'm in close communication with our marketing team in these situations as they can provide the assets and schedules associated with the pro- motion of the product. "The final buyer I run into wants to know WHAT. What can this product do for them? The WHAT buyer typically asks, 'What will this product do for me and my business as a whole?' Meetings with WHAT buyers require me to put on my salesperson hat. I'm there to show them not only what my product can do for their customers, but what the product can do for their business." Recognizing what each buyer needs to make the decision is a big part of both Camille's and Taylor's success. Adapting to fit buyer's buying needs, as well as their needs for their products, is another way Camille and Tay- lor add value and build partnerships. Camille Sandler and Taylor Dixon, Used with permission. Life-cycle costing, also referred to as the total cost of ownership, is a method for determining the cost of equipment or supplies over their useful lives. 16 We mentioned earlier in this chapter that life-cycle costing is more common in capital equipment purchases because of the long-term life of the product. Using this approach, salespeople can demonstrate that a product with a higher initial cost will have a lower overall cost when there are lower maintenance or operating costs versus a competitor. An example of life-cycle costing appears in Exhibit 3.5. (Approaches that salespeople can use to demonstrate the value of their products to customers are discussed in more detail in Chapter 9.) 74 CHAPTER 3: Buying Behavior and the Buying Process

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