Top Tips For Procurement – Coach Your Sales Teams

Tim Ussher is one of our old friends, a very impressive and experienced CPO; indeed, he won the first individual CIPS Purchaser of the Year Award back in 2002. He is also now the author of “Winning Selling to Impress the Buyer!

In the book, he argues that corporate buyers are a force to be reckoned with, the corporate king makers, with the power to award multi-million-pound revenue contracts which would turn the fortunes of many a supplying firm.

But are sales people really doing everything in their power to impress buyers? Ussher feels not. Indeed, when he has asked procurement teams over the years, ‘what percentage of sellers really impress you’, the answer is a consistent, “maybe just 10 to 20%”. That feeling drove him to write this, a very readable, engaging short book that we suspect will be genuinely useful for sales people who want to understand how we work on the other side of the negotiating table.

Impressively, the book has also been endorsed by Lord Alan Sugar, entrepreneur, businessman and star of the BBC’s series ‘The Apprentice’; "Having personally sat across the table from Tim, I know there is a lot to gain from his advice. I’d encourage anyone in sales to read this straight talking book, written by one of the best purchasing professionals I have come across in business."

But whilst this book is aimed at helping sellers impress buyers, it also provides buyers with an opportunity to engage and raise their internal profile, by helping coach their own sales teams. That’s something we have felt for some time could be a great way for procurement to assist the organisation and their own reputation internally. Here’s just a taster of a few top tips from Usher that buyers could pass onto their sales people, illustrated by some of the cartoons that liven up the book!

1. Time management
Buyers are busy people, time is precious, sellers must be punctual, early in fact but never late. Manage time in meetings, rehearse, don’t run over or run out of time before hitting the key topics. Sellers not managing their time remains a frequent problem the buyer won’t forget.

So that concludes my pitch… oh, did I run over?!

So that concludes my pitch… oh, did I run over?!       

2. Prepare to win, and information is power
Buyers will do a lot of research into the seller’s products, company, competitors, market, cost breakdown, low cost sourcing etc. Sellers should know everything about their company, products and market, and the buyer’s background, and must be the expert.

I thought you said these Buyers wouldn’t be well prepared!

I thought you said these Buyers wouldn’t be well prepared!

3. Brilliant pitching
Presentations need to be amazing, sellers have limited time in front of the buyer and are being assessed all that time. Give your pitch a balance of information on the slide and what the presenter then adds to this when speaking. We can all read a slide in a few seconds, we don’t then need it read out! Use ‘clean’ slides, include the buyer’s company logo, show why your company is great on the points the Buyer has asked for. Make sure the PC is working with the projector before you start and that you have backup hard copies!

4. Key question to a buyer
Simply; ‘what do I need to do to win this deal?’, but rarely asked by the seller. The buyer wants great suppliers and a great deal, so guiding firms towards their ideal outcome presents an opportunity for sellers to hear exactly what the gaps are, maybe 3% on price, or they don’t like the account manager. Also ask buyers about their number one goal – their savings expectations or budget, it’s all good intel.

Yes, yes, never mind the plane crash, how much money have you saved today

Yes, yes, never mind the plane crash, how much money have you saved today?

5. Impressive tender responses
Buyers spend time and resources crafting their masterpiece, the tender document. So this is the sellers chance to shine, and when the buyers sit and compare yours with the other eight it becomes very clear which look great, and which are poorly presented and have not followed the instructions, not answered questions or changed columns. Follow the format and clarify anything you’re not sure about with the buyer.

 The tender deadline is in 5…4…3…

The tender deadline is in 5…4…3…

Winning Selling to Impress the Buyer! is available on Amazon as a colour paperback and kindle ebook.

Share on Procurious

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.