When your customer's business is up, they are in a better position to buy from you. When their business is down, they may want to buy less, to pressure you for price concessions or to buy from lower priced competitors. Sometimes they will not give you an opportunity to use your value-added skills to overcome the price objection.
What can you do? Help them sell more of their goods and services so they will need more of yours. Here are some ways to do that - or I will do it for you!
Take a client's salesperson to lunch - preferably with the buyer also attending. Over lunch, talk about what obstacles the salesperson is facing, what they are hearing from their clients, etc. Much of this will be news to the typical purchasing agent. As you talk, do not be surprised when the bulk of the conversation shifts to the buyer and salesperson. They need to be having this conversation but few ever do.
Offer to conduct a thirty-minute sales training session for your client's salespeople. If you've read a good sales book lately or if you have attended a sales seminar, recap the ideas that were most meaningful to you. Don't worry about being a great presenter; you are there to share some ideas the salespeople can use. Do you know why people are nervous about speaking in front of a group? It's because they are thinking about themselves! Think this way instead: you are there to deliver a gift. Why would you be self-conscious if you are giving something people want and need?
Give them sales development materials they can use. Of course I recommend that you give them copies of "The Nanosecond Salesperson" but any quality sales tool you can give them will help increase their sales. It will do a lot more than a fruit basket or a mug, won't it?
Chuck Reaves, CSP, CPAE, CSP