In the current business environment, purchasing professionals need to have a variety of skills. One set of skills that can greatly benefit these professionals is the ability to sell. While purchasing pros obviously have different job requirements than salespeople, there are definitely some skills that the former can learn from the latter. Here are the sales skills that individuals who do purchasing can benefit from utilizing:
When a sales professional is interacting with a potential buyer, they’re not going to let the conversation drag on forever. Instead, sales pros know when it’s time to close the deal by asking for the sale. Although taking the initiative to close a deal can feel uncomfortable, it’s something that has to be done. So when someone in purchasing knows that an option is the best one to take, they should have the confidence to make that clear to all other parties that are involved.
Clearly Conveying Benefits
One of the traits that sets sales professionals apart from amateurs is that the former group focuses on the specific benefits that a product or service has to offer. While features are definitely important, benefits are what ultimately sways people to make a purchase. This lesson can be very beneficial to purchasing managers and team members who remember it. Whether it’s a fellow employee or another stakeholder, focusing on the benefits someone will receive can be useful in conversations ranging from specific purchases to why they should get on board with certain procedures.
Eliminating Discomfort from Discussions About Numbers
Numbers aren’t something that people always want to talk about. However, in order for a procurement professional to do the best job possible, they need to be able to negotiate prices. That reality is why those in purchasing should look to salespeople for guidance on how to best address the subject of numbers. Not only are great salespeople able to bring up the topic of numbers without making anyone uncomfortable, but they’re also able to frame them in a way that is beneficial to what they’re trying to accomplish.
Framing Conversations Around Value
This ties into the previous point about how salespeople are able to frame numbers in a way that is useful to what they want to accomplish. When a salesperson talks about what someone is going to get out of a product or service, they know the importance of communicating the direct value that individual is going to receive. While the subjects being discussed are going to differ, purchasing managers should take the same approach. By framing conversations around direct value, everything from vendor negotiations to enforcing budget thresholds becomes easier. The reason everything will become easier is because discussing value gives the other parties involved a clear reason to get on board with what a purchasing manager wants to do.
Whether you’re speaking to a purchasing professional or someone in another department of an organization, most people agree that the role of procurement has noticeably expanded in recent years. One of the reasons that procurement has changed is because companies have realized that when handled correctly, procurement can have a noticeable impact on a company’s bottom line.
While purchase managers have more on their plate than ever before, that doesn’t mean training has kept up with the demands of this job. A common theme across companies of all sizes is that the current training for procurement just isn’t reflective of what’s required of this type of job on a daily basis.