When our new corporate chef started making visits to other chefs currently working in the food and hospitality business, he quickly learned that Qualifirst already enjoys a strong reputation for having the best quality products in Canada.
Yet at the same time most of these chefs do not buy from Qualifirst. So how do we turn our reputation for being the best into being the “first choice when shopping for the best?”
The vision of Qualifirst is to be the “first choice to make food taste better.” Our team must become a challenger sales team to make this vision a reality.
It is not enough to simply send customers and prospects a product list and asking them to tell us what they are interested in. This is not effective at all. In fact sending price lists and product lists – particularly long and detailed ones – gives the prospect a reason not to contact you until some future date far away when the list has been examined.
Handing out a list means we are asking the customer to do our work for us, and that is not what sales is about.
We must start becoming more proactive – challenging our customers to see their businesses in new ways.
We must act more like advisors to our customers. That’s where the challenger sales concept comes in. In a nutshell, challenger sales is like an advisory relationship. Its key elements are mutual trust and reliability. The seller connects with a customer like a mentor would, demonstrating a genuine care for the customer’s prosperity that goes above and beyond any immediate desire for a sale. The challenge refers to a seller challenging a customer to do better in his/her business, surprising the customer with new ideas or scenarios—a kind of commercial tough love.
We sell to most of the top restaurants and all of the best retailers in Canada. We are Canada’s number one gourmet food company. We can do better than just sending price lists, catalogues and sales histories and waiting for the customers to come back to us.
New technologies will help
We are in the process of introducing a new contact management software, a new email system and a new marketing technology which together comprise some of the tools our team will need to become a powerful challenger sales team and to make our vision a reality.
These technologies will make it easier for our team to create and implement challenger sales models. It will also take the guesswork out of strategizing when a customer should be contacted for a reorder, and will help deliver credible suggestions of new products they should buy.
Using the challenger sales model in concert with new technologies forms a key part of our strategy to reach $20M by 2017. It is important that our entire team knows how we plan to use these tools, along with our current position as the number one Canadian gourmet food company, to become Canada’s first choice to make food taste better, and consequently transform our strategy into reality.
A Sample Challenger Sales contact
Here is an example of an email-based challenger sales customer contact: a simple 3 step sales opportunity process that has proven to be very effective in today’s connected world:
- We have identified this problem in your company or industry that we can solve.
Identify a problem you can solve for your customer or identify a new opportunity. This is done using your knowledge of how we help current customers as well as research done on the prospect’s web site.
- We have already solved this type of problem for other companies in your area/industry.
This is where Qualifirst can shine since we have already helped so many top customers all across Canada.
- Can we make some time for a 10-minute phone call?
If you have done the first two steps correctly, the customer will want to talk to you. Note that no price lists or product lists are involved. The prospect must talk to you for you to help.
I took a look at your website and I see you carry many quality products like Hero and Lorann oils. I think we have some good products that will enhance your service and increase your sales. We have a wide range of products you can buy by the unit or by the case, in large or small quantities at our warehouse near Pearson Airport.
We help many distributors like you, such as ABC and XYZ Inc., by enhancing their selection with a convenient one-stop pick up of all the harder to find quality items your customers are looking for.
I encourage you to watch our short video to experience where our passion comes from.
Let’s schedule a 10 minute call next week, Monday morning, Tuesday afternoon or at another convenient time for you.
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