Surely enough customers have heard — and many distributors use — the ever-popular sales adage: “We don’t sell products, we sell solutions!” Though it’s a phrase with good intentions, and a nod to more sophisticated selling, it’s nothing more than an empty promise if there isn’t any proof to back up the statement.

Jan/San distributors say proving a company’s worth comes down to understanding the market it serves, and zeroing in on potential areas where they can go above and beyond for customers.

Underhill describes his company’s value to customers by comparing its value-added services to the popularity of high-end grocers, such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods.

“I got a local Super Walmart, and their prices are less,” Underhill tells clients. “But, I prefer to go to the higher-end grocery store,” because the foods are higher in quality and it has a larger food selection. Clients usually get the message.

Customers who have purchased floor-cleaning equipment from Solutex, for example, are able to take advantage of the company’s equipment loan program during servicing. But, the company adds up the purchases total value long before that point, says Moody. 

“When we are talking with customers about a piece of equipment, we quantify and say that with the machine we will give you a case of the cleaner you need and we will have a loaner so we can keep you from having downtime,” Moody says. “They don’t want to pay someone to mop a floor, which can take six hours. That really differentiates us from our competitors.”

Moody recalls a cold call he made at a local church where he met with the custodial manager. He soon discovered that the church was buying two boxes of wax a week to recoat the floors every Friday before service.

“So, I told him there’s a product that can get rid of scuffs without recoating the floor every week,” Moody says. “He was not only super-grateful, but I helped that gentleman save all that money and all that time. Later the floors looked better because it didn’t have all that build-up.”

It also shows customers a level of expertise and dedication that isn’t typically drawn from giant, faceless corporations or through online transactions, he says.

“It really goes back to truly helping your customers find the products they need,” Moody says. “That’s how you’re going to be able to compete against the big box stores or larger companies.”

previous page of this article:
Quantifying and Documenting Value-added Services