Category: Business Written by Randy Greenberg
Why does a customer buy from one vendor rather than another? According to research recently conducted by The Rain Group, customers tend to buy from sellers who are superlative at the following tasks:
1. Bring New Perspectives and Ideas
If customers could diagnose their own problems and come up with workable solutions on their own, they would do so. The reason that they're turning to you and your firm is that they're stuck and need your help. Therefore, you must be able to bring something new to the table.
2. Be Willing to Collaborate
Customers absolutely do NOT want you to sell them something, even something that's wonderful. They want you to work with them to achieve a mutual goal, by being responsive to the customer's concerns and ways of doing business. Ideally, customers want you to become integral to their success.
3. Have Confidence In Your Ability to Achieve Results
Customers will not buy from you if you can't persuade them that you, your firm, and your firms offerings will truly achieve the promised results. It is nearly impossible to persuade a customer to believe in these things unless you yourself believe in them. You must make your confidence contagious.
4. Listen, Really Listen, to the Customer
When they're describing themselves and their needs, customers sense immediately when somebody is just waiting for a break in the conversation in order to launch into a sales pitch. In order to really listen, you must suppress your own inner-voice and forget your goals. It's about the customer, not about you.
5. Understand ALL the Customer's Needs
It's not enough to "connect the dots" between customer needs and your company's offering. You must also connect with the individuals who will be affected by your offering, and understand how buying from you will satisfy their personal needs, like career advancement and job security.
6. Help the Customer Avoid Potential Pitfalls
Here's where many sellers fall flat. Customers know that every business decision entails risk but they also want your help to minimize that risk. They want to know what could go wrong and what has gone wrong in similar situations, and what steps you're taking to make sure these problems won't recur.
7. Craft a Compelling Solution
Solution selling is definitely not dead. Customers want and expect you to have the basic selling skill of defining and proposing a workable solution. What's different now though is that the ability to do this is the "price of entry" and not enough, by itself, to win in a competitive sales situation.
8. Communicate the Purchasing Process
Customers hate it when sellers dance around issues like price, discounts, availability, total cost, add-on options, and so forth. They want you to be able to tell them, in plain and simple language, what's involved in a purchase and how that purchase will take place. No surprises. No last minute upsells.
9. Connect Personally With the Customer
Ultimately, every selling situation involves making a connection between two individuals who like and trust each other. As a great sales guru once said: "All things being equal, most people would rather buy from somebody they like... and that's true even when all things aren't equal."
10. Provide Value That's Superior to Other Options
And here, finally, at the No. 10 spot (below everything else) comes the price and how that price compares to similar offerings. Unless you can prove that buying from you is the right business decision for the customer, the customer can and should buy elsewhere.
- Geoffrey James, SALES SOURCE
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 19:24
Category: Women Of Excellence Written by Amber Bogins
Check out our phenomenal fifty Women of Excellence who are changing the landscape of Metro Detroit and making this region a stronger, better place.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 June 2013 14:37
Category: Business - Original Written by Donald James
Bartech Group, Inc. (Bartech), a global leader in staffing and management solutions, has experienced tremendous success for more than three decades. The Michigan-based company currently manages more than 26,000 daily work assignments and $2 billion in annualized billings. While many companies would be content to keep the status quo in this business climate and economy, Bartech has continued to grow and expand.
While celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2012, Bartech simultaneously was making major decisions to boldly shape its future. A quantum leap for the company occurred when it received an investment from Sverica International to fund ongoing strategic growth. Sverica, a West Coast-based private equity firm, is a leading entity that has raised more than $425 million of investment capital since its inception in 1993.
In conjunction with the investment, David W. Barfield was promoted to serve as Bartech’s president, CEO, and chairman of the board. No stranger to the company, Barfield has functioned in executive leadership capacities since joining the family-owned business in 1995. He was instrumental in transitioning the company from a traditional staffing agency, to a global leader that provides national and international services in such industries as automotive, life sciences and health care, financial services, energy and telecommunications.
For more than two decades, Bartech has been listed by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the top performing and earning African-American companies in the United States. Yet, the potential to achieve even more continued to present itself.
“Our company was experiencing significant growth over the past five years,” says Barfield. “To remain competitive, however, the family recognized the need to attract outside investments to fund our growth and better help our customers win in the global marketplace. Sverica shared in our long-term vision to better deliver quality service to meet our customers’ increasing demand for talent. Therefore, we are pleased with our partnership with Sverica because it enables Bartech to make the necessary investments that will add significant value to our customers.”
The investment and change in strategy have also made it possible for Bartech to move from Livonia, into new state-of-the-art headquarters in Southfield, create a centralized national recruitment center, and globally expand the company’s Managed Service Provider business unit, which includes a presence in Eastern and Western Europe, as well as Canada.
While Sverica has made an investment and is now part owner of Bartech, Barfield points out that the family is still in the loop.
“The Barfield family has a major equity position in the company,” says Barfield, who holds a bachelor of arts from Georgetown University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. “As far as the direction of the company, overall philosophy, and day-to-day operation, those decisions belong to our Board of Directors, executive leadership team and me.”
In addition to his top leadership role at Bartech, Barfield was recently elected to serve on the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s (NMSDC) Board of Directors. NMSDC is one of the country’s leading corporate membership organizations that advocates increased procurement opportunities for Asians, Blacks, Hispanic, Women and Native American businesses in the global corporate supply chain. Bartech, a NMSDC certified company, has been a member of the national organization for close to 30 years. Additionally, Barfield is a member of Business Leaders for Michigan, a business roundtable that includes the top 80 corporate executives in Michigan.
While on a fast track moving forward, Barfield is proud of Bartech’s achievements and status in the corporate world. The company is one of the country’s 100 largest staffing firms, one of the 20th largest firms that provide engineering talent in the staffing industry and is a Top 10 provider in the Managed Service Provider segment of the industry. According to Barfield, Bartech’s annual revenue is approximately $230 million. “
“Our goal is to continue to grow the value of our company,” says Barfield.
“We will continue to invest in services that we believe to be highly valued by our customers. We want to be one of the most important companies in the human capital industry. Our plans are to double the size of the company in the next three to five years while making investments to reach those goals.”
Regardless of how fast Bartech grows, Barfield says the company will continue to embrace the business philosophies of his father, John W. Barfield, and mother, Betty Barfield, both of whom were African-American pioneers in business.
The couple started Barfield Cleaning Company in 1954, before transitioning it to John Barfield & Associates in 1977 which provided staffing services to the Big Three automakers. In 1984, the company changed its name to The Bartech Group and became one the country’s first minority-owned technical staffing firms.
“What’s important to me as Bartech moves forward is that we stay true to the founding principles established by my parents,” says Barfield.
“The founding principles were providing quality service to our customers, fairness to our employees and being good corporate citizens. While a lot has changed, and is still changing at Bartech, the foundation established by my parents remains.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 02:23
Category: Business - Original Written by Damon Autry
The National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP) recently honored five business leaders during its seventh annual ceremony and scholarship banquet fundraiser at the Detroit Athletic Club. More than 300 NASP members, supporters and guests helped celebrate what NASP called Encore VII – “Together We Rise!” Proceeds from the event go toward scholarships for financially-challenged college students from Metro Detroit.
Each honoree was recognized with a special award. They include: the NEXT.com Award, given to Glenda Gill, executive director, Rainbow Push Automotive Project; the Measure of Excellence Award, presented to Richard Charlton, chair and founder of New England Pension Consultants; Lorenzo Moner, chairman of Wayne County Employment Retirement Systems, received the Unsung Hero Award. NASP also recognized Chris Jackson, partner with Queen Lillian Development, with the Maverick Award, and David Clark, chairman of Detroit General Retirement Systems, with the Legend Award.
“It is an amazing task for NASP to recognize five of Detroit’s highly notable men and women and award them individually for their countless achievements and years of remarkable service in their respective fields,” Kathleen Colin said. Colin is president of NASP’s Detroit chapter, as well as director of investments for Oppenheimer & Co.
During her tenure with the Rainbow Push Automotive Project, Glenda Gill has made it her life’s work to fight for total inclusion in the automotive industry for people of color and women. And while she doesn’t perform her tasks to garner attention or pats on the back, Gill is nonetheless humbled by being recognized for her efforts. “This honor means a lot to me,” she said. “It means that my work matters. Sometimes when you’re involved in the work, you don’t stop to reflect on the accomplishments of the work. So when people outside your core recognize you for what you do, it tells you that you’re truly making a difference. And I think we are making a difference.”
Maverick Award recipient Chris Jackson said it’s a privilege to be recognized by an organization such as NASP and believes he fits the mold of what the award represents. “A maverick is someone who symbolizes the willingness to do things unconventional, unorthodox,” Jackson said. “I appreciate NASP for looking at me as a businessman who conducts business that way. But more than that, I commend the organization for helping support our young people and for serving as their mentors.”
The National Association of Securities Professionals is a nonprofit 501 (c)(6) association comprised of professionals in the securities industry. The organization brings together the nation’s minorities and women who have achieved recognition in the industry as brokers, asset managers, investment bankers, commercial bank underwriters and other financial professionals. The NASP has chapters in Detroit, Atlanta, Baltimore/D.C., Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Since 2007, the NASP-Detroit Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships to deserving students.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 02:58
Category: Business - Original Written by Ken Dallafior
We all know productivity requires both energy and control. A manufacturing plant needs power to operate and process controls to ensure efficiency. Your car won’t run without fuel and a driver.
But did you know your brain works the same way?
In other words, if you or your employees are not eating the right foods (energy), your ability to think and maintain self-control (mental productivity) will suffer.
According to research by psychologist Roy Baumeister, some brain and cognitive processes consume substantial amounts of energy, and self-control requires a certain amount of glucose to operate unimpaired.
As Baumeister notes in a Psychology Today article, “the human body is undeniably an energy system. Evolution gave us this new and more complicated way of acting, but it’s expensive in terms of fuel burned.”
If you find yourself running on fumes at work, try munching on foods that are rich in lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. Examples include low-fat yogurt, fresh strawberries or veggies with a hummus dip. According to a nutritionist quoted in the article, such foods are metabolized at a steady rate and lead to stable blood-sugar levels.
Here are some other food suggestions for boosting your energy, brainpower and productivity:
Blueberries: Neuroscientist James A. Joseph of the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University calls these tasty marvels of nature “brainberries.” They not only provide traditional nutrients — carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins C and E and manganese — but also help make your brain cells maximally responsive while impeding the aging process.
Eggs: The yolk of eggs is high in choline, a building block of brain cells that has been shown to enhance memory and minimize fatigue. However, eat only one or two egg products a day, since eggs also are high in cholesterol.
Seeds and nuts: Any kind of nut or seed works well for a snack break, because they all have Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These acids can help you think more clearly, but also improve your mood since they act as natural antidepressants.
Fish: The original brain food, fish also are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which a recent study shows are important in decelerating brain aging and preventing the loss of memory and thinking capabilities.
A final tip. If you’re about to face a stressful situation, have a healthy snack beforehand — perhaps peanut butter on whole-grain crackers — which could help your blood sugar rise to the occasion
Ken Dallafior is executive vice president, Group Business and Corporate Marketing at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). Dallafior leads BCBSM’s group sales force, oversees corporate marketing and product development, and develops and implements key corporate strategies. He also provides leadership to critical sales operations such as agent relations and commissions, sales incentives and complex issue resolution for group customers and sales agents. In addition to working in the insurance industry for nearly two decades, Dallafior played professional football from 1982 to 1992. He is founder and board member of the Detroit Lions Courage House.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:10
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