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Archives for March 2020

Soft Selling vs Hard Selling in the Material Handling Industry: What's the Difference?

By Evan Lamolinara | 03/05/2020 | 11:33 AM | Categories: Current Affairs

In the material handling industry, sales tactics can be classified as either soft or hard, depending on what they encompass. Seasoned sales reps often use both Hardsoftsell
types of tactics to engage with prospects, it all depends on what the situation warrants. Soft selling is a more personal approach or subtle persuasion, whereas hard selling is a more direct approach. Unless you're familiar with these two main categories of sales tactics, though, you might be wondering how they differ. Below, you'll learn more about the nuances between soft selling and hard selling in the supply chain and logistics industry.

What Is Hard Selling?

Hard selling is a catch-all term that refers to the direct sales tactics in which a sales rep -- or any other worker with the authority to sell products or services on behalf of their company – directly asks a buyer to make a purchase. With hard selling, you are using more insistent language to get the prospect to do something, like purchase your company’s product or service. It's a straightforward approach that, when performed correctly and respectfully, can quickly engage the prospect to take action on the spot.

What Is Soft Selling?

Soft selling, on the other hand, refers to the tactic of subtle persuasion that place sales on the back burner and, instead, focus on building and nurturing relationships with the prospect. Like with hard selling, the primary goal of soft selling is to generate a sale. Soft selling, however, prioritizes building relationships with buyers. You still want to generate a sale when using soft selling tactics, but you use other soft closing techniques like the summary close, to reach the sale.

Benefits of Hard Selling

The primary benefit of hard selling is that offers immediate or near-immediate results. It takes time to nurture buyers with soft selling. You may spend days, weeks or even months describing the benefits of your material handling company's product or service and why the buyer should purchase it. With hard selling, however, you can get straight to the point, which may result in a shorter sales cycle.

Supply chain and logistics buyers often respond well to hard selling because they have little or no free time to talk with sales reps. As you may know, buyers in the material handling industry consist of decision-makers, including CEOs, plant managers and other upper-level executives. As a result, they are usually busy running their own business, so engaging them directly with hard selling allows you to quickly convey your sales message.

You can use a variety of channels to perform hard selling. You can directly pitch your material handling company's products or services to buyers by phone, email, text message, social media, direct mail and even in person.

Benefits of Soft Selling

There are still reasons to use soft selling, one of which is a better chance of overcoming sales objections. Not every buyer whom you contact will agree to make a purchase. For every 50 buyers whom you contact with a sales offer, you may generate just two to 10 sales. Maybe a buyer isn't ready to make a purchase yet, or perhaps he or she believes the price is too high. Regardless, soft selling allows you to overcome sales objections such as these, essentially capturing a sale that would have otherwise been lost.

You'll also have the ability to dig deeper into the unique needs of buyers with soft selling. If you rely strictly on hard selling tactics, you won't be able to ask buyers many informative questions. Instead, you'll spend most of your time pitching your material handling company's products or services, which may or may not result in a sale. For a more effective sales strategy, use soft selling tactics to gain a better understanding of buyers' needs.

Of course, soft selling also supports a variety of channels -- just like hard selling. In fact, soft selling actually supports more channels since it uses an indirect approach to generate sales. Publishing content on your material handling company's website, for instance, can be considered soft selling. If the content offers value to buyers, it may improve buyers' perception of your company's brand.

Use Both Techniques

To be the best you can be for your supply chain or logistics customer, it’s best to use both techniques. That’s because not all prospects are the same. Listen to the response of the prospect first when making the initial contact. This will help you to decide if a hard sell or a soft sell is the better approach.

Be sure to constantly pay attention. You may begin with a hard sell based on their feedback, but if you notice them ‘pulling back’, or changing course, they may realize they were being too harsh and would prefer a more-soft sell approach.

That’s our job as sales people. Know your situation and respond to what the customer wants and needs to build a long-lasting relationship that produce on-going sales.

Now that you’re ready, call a few Project Reports to get your pipeline even more active. These are companies that are growing: planned industrial construction, expansion, relocation, equipment modernization projects. You will have all the contact names, titles, phone numbers and email addresses. It’s everything you need, supplied by our researchers, to make a successful call and utilize the technique that fits the person. Good Selling!

Are You Asking Material Handling Prospects the Right Questions?

By Evan Lamolinara | 03/05/2020 | 11:23 AM | Categories: Current Affairs

QuestionsWhen communicating with material handling prospects, it's important to ask the right questions. If you ask unnecessary questions -- or if you don't ask any questions -- you won't be able to gain insight into their unique needs. As a result, you'll experience greater difficulty when selling your material handling company's products or services. So, what type of questions should you ask buyers?

What's the Biggest Challenge Facing Your Business?

All businesses have challenges. When contacting buyers, try to encourage them into disclosing their business's biggest challenge. Maybe the buyer's business is struggling to expand into a new market, or perhaps the buyer's business is suffering from outdated equipment. Regardless, by identifying the buyer's biggest challenge, you'll be able to offer a solution sold by your material handling company.

How Did You Hear About Us?

You should also ask buyers how they heard about or otherwise discovered your material handling company. Why is this important exactly? Well, some marketing and sales channels will drive more leads than others. By asking buyers how they discovered your B2B company, you'll be able to identify which channels are most effective. If the majority of buyers discovered your material handling company through its LinkedIn Company Page, for instance, you may want to increase your time and attention towards LinkedIn.

What's Your Budget?

Of course, you should also inquire about buyers' budges. It’s a question most sales people are uncomfortable to ask. The best time to ask that question is right after you find out about their biggest challenge or challenges. Find out if the company has put funds aside in order to purchase a product or service that begins to fix their problem.  

Some buyers are willing to spend more money than others. However, buyers in the material handling industry typically have strict budgets, so you'll need to ask how much money they are willing to spend before making your sales pitch.

What's Holding You Back?

If a buyer declines to take the next step when you initially pitch your material handling company's product or service, you should ask what's holding him or her back. Objections are common in the material handling industry, but if you're able to identify the reason a buyer declines your sales offer, you may able to find a solution and move the sales process forward.

When Will You Be Ready to Make a Purchase? Or What is the Timeline to Get the Problem Solved?

Don't forget to ask buyers when they will be ready to make a purchase. Some buyers have to run purchases through other upper-level executives, which can take time. Then, be sure to ask another question: “Do you have all the information you need, including the business case and financial case to gain the approvals?” By asking a buyer these two important questions, you'll have a better chance at generating a sale.

These are great questions to ask especially when you have Project Reports. That’s because opportunities have been identified at the company, and it’s your job to call and generate the interest for your product or service. If you are not familiar with Project Reports, SalesLeads’ researchers track new industrial projects across the country. These sales leads can be for new planned industrial construction, expansion, relocation and/or modernization equipment projects. If you haven’t seen what these are, then open a free account and take a look.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Evan Lamolinara

Evan Lamolinara

Evan Lamolinara is president of SalesLeads, Inc., a company that has been around for over 60 years, generating high quality sales leads dedicated to the sales & marketing professionals in the industrial marketplace. Mr. Lamolinara, an entrepreneur and competitor, purchased the legacy company in 2014. Since then, he's redeveloped its core software delivery platform and grew the company over 400%. Evan graduated from Mount Union College with B.A. Business Management and honed his competitive skills as a 3-year letterman on the College football team.



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