Understanding buyer and staff psychology can improve your sales effort
Manufacturers and distributors in the Musical Instrument and Professional Audio trade have a vested interest in understanding buyer psychology. If you can connect empathetically and meet the buyer’s needs, prospects for revenue growth go up. All buyers are not alike, but they do have similar desires, such as receiving accurate information in a timely fashion. Working with your territory representatives and key account managers, you can and should take a proactive role concerning this topic.
Identifying buyer types
There’s a myriad of personality types in a Musical Instrument or Pro Audio shop, and a study from the Miller- Heiman Group put a name to them. I attended a Miller- Heiman seminar years ago, and continue to utilize their strategies to this day.
- Technical Buyer – focuses on terms and conditions, looking at margin, turnover and return on investment. They may be influenced by those who better understand product positioning.
- User Buyer – a musician or engineer, this person has passion for gear. They can be less prone to technical analysis, using their heart and head to make purchasing decisions.
- Economic Buyer – ultimately, this person makes final decisions, trumping the wishes of a buyer. Usually a store owner or finance manager, where open-to-buy dollars and cash flow rules.
Interaction with each buyer is different, and this implies the ability to discern between types. From my experience, relating to the buyer in language that is most comfortable to them is the best course, and the method that leads to understanding purchasing needs.
Advocates, anti-sponsors and coaches
Within a sales organization, there are other personalities to deal with, many times involving core relationships that allow products to be accepted. For example, a Technical Buyer may look for ‘“buy-in”’ from influential staff members. This is where your salesperson’s ability to cultivate trust on the sales floor pays off.
- Advocates – personnel on the front lines who sell your products at retail or in a contact center. They are the ones you train and build important relationships with. A good sales rep spends time with Advocates before making the trek into the purchasing office.
- Anti-sponsors – these are staff members that who can undermine your sales effort. They may have an axe to grind or simply be poorly informed. They may be “in the pocket” of a competitor or non-supportive for a variety of personal reasons.
- Coaches – typically a senior staff member who acts as a mentor to younger or less experienced retail salespeople. The Coach may influence the buyers, so it’s wise to develop a good relationship here.
Retail organizations, whether small or multi-leveled, share these common characteristics in terms of personnel typecasting, and understanding the scalability of this analysis can unlock the doors of success. Musical Instrument and Pro Audio salespeople who navigate these waters effectively stand a better chance of increasing sales and thus your brand’s visibility in the Musical Instrument marketplace.