Tramping and bellowing in the murky swamps of a world they ruled for 125 million years, dinosaurs seemed invincible. Large and powerful, they hardly noticed the small, furry, shrew-like creatures that would one day challenge them. So they went on with the business of living, feeding on lush vegetation, battling with one another, confidently siring new generations. But, while they were great warriors, they were lousy parents. They paid no attention to their eggs, which they dropped in the marshy grasses, as unconcerned as great oak trees that drop their acorns. But the small, furry, shrew-like creatures did pay attention. They survived by eating the dinosaur eggs. And, eventually, there were no more dinosaurs tramping and bellowing anywhere. I haven't seen a dinosaur die since yesterday. I expect to see many more die tomorrow and into the next millennium. Their demise will be the result of their chief executive officers' egocentricity, their failure to adapt to change, and their underestimation of the small, furry, shrew-like creatures with a voracious appetite for dinosaur eggs. Whether you are a dinosaur who wants to survive, or a dinosaur egg eater looking for nourishment and growth, you'll be interested in the findings of a continuing research study Penton Publishing conducts. It is called Know the Buyer Better. It is full of ideas you can use. It was commissioned to help your company survive in the immediate future--and beyond. First, the industry perspective. The study is about business and was intended for business use. It is not a study of trends in the consumer marketplace, interpreted for business. It's the real world of real business. Second, it reflects the buyer's perspective. This study relates the varied and often confusing trends of the marketplace to one specific industry activity: buying. And third, the study has a practical perspective. It does not look at the changing marketplace alone. It translates our findings into useful advice on how to convert these changes into successful marketing and selling strategies. Know the Buyer Better will help your company make dollars out of change. Changes in the way industry is buying, and changes in the people doing the buying: what they want, what they need, what it will take to sell them. The needs are new and significantly different from what conventional wisdom would have us believe. And therein lie the ingredients for sales success or sales suicide. The following are some highlights of the Know the Buyer Better study.
1. What Buyers Fear
. . . They fear change.
. . . They fear the complexity of your sales pitches.
. . . They fear that they can't understand how your products work.
. . . They fear your products won't work as advertised.
. . . They fear poor return on invested capital.
. . . They fear the cost of financing the purchase.
. . . They fear buying from a new supplier.
. . . They fear you won't deliver on your promises for delivery, training, and service. But, what they fear most of all is that in buying your product, they may make a mistake that will embarrass them in the eyes of their superiors and associates. 2. Business Market A Rat Race
Your buyers are slowing down under the stress of marketplace pressures. Competition is becoming more keen, more combative, more demanding. Your competitors are hiring and training better qualified salespeople, spending more on research and development, and delivering better quality. They are also targeting your exclusive customers and pushing all their emotional buttons. 3. Downsizing Is Becoming An Industry Standard
Doing more with fewer people. Automating. Outsourcing. Concentrating on core businesses. More divestitures, spinoffs, and IPOs. To maximize efficiency, your customers are concentrating on high-value instead of low-value activities. 4. Buyers Want Strategic Partnerships
The old handshake and smile aren't good enough anymore. Your buyers want your undivided attention. They want top-to-bottom service. In today's market, no service means "no sale"! Your customers want to be your Siamese twins--joined to you at the wallet. They want to be your strategic partners. Conclusions
If you are out of touch with today's buyer, something terrible is going to happen: nothing! You just won't get the business. Your customers are going to be captured by those little, furry, very hungry shrew-like creatures in the swamp. And pretty soon, you'll be as dead as a dinosaur.