The Material Handling Industry Continues to Trend Upward, Outward, Inward

The Material Handling Industry Continues to Trend Upward, Outward, Inward

Emerging Trends Impacting the Material Handling Industry

Pundits, progenitors, and prognosticators are apt to riff on the emerging trends of a given industry.  Not surprisingly, a longitudinal view of such trends leads us to infer that the emergence of such patterns is less an instance of Aphrodite’s divinity spontaneously rising from the primordial sea foam than it is one of the all-too-human Agamemnon and his men, rowing their long boat across to Aegean from his citadel at Mycenae to the broad plains of Hector’s Ilium. 

That is to say, a trend is a flower that opens not over the course days but of years, and while the attached article was penned in 2014, a quick look at its list trends tells us that these items are still unfolding into bloom: Ten Mega-Trends of The U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics and Why 2025 Matters Today

A look over the many industry tendencies that have faced and continue to face the material handling industry tells us that these trends affect all aspects of the companies involved–from the HR and finance departments through to product design and delivery.  For companies producing the equipment that services the needs of the material handling industry, a few of these trends are especially noteworthy, and a number of these are important for their ramifications on business systems.  Companies can no longer rely on spreadsheets and CAD drawings to compete, as industry shifts apply greater pressure on companies to rapidly supply equipment that meets these changing needs. 

Below are a few items, culled from the above article, that will affect the business systems of the future, in support of the companies working within this changing industry. 

  • The prevalence of Robotics and Automation: With the increased desire to automate as much of the supply chain as possible, the ability to move product with a minimum of human intervention becomes increasingly important.  Companies need to be able to tailor their offerings to provide integrated solutions that address these requirements, and to be able to integrate these different elements into systems, not only physically, but from a sales and delivery point of view. 
  • The increased use of sensor, wireless, and mobile technology: Coupled with automation are the needs for greater integration, between material handling subsystems, and between the overall material handling system and the facility in which it resides.  From an enterprise application standpoint, the importance in being able to quickly and consistently translate new features and options into their component materials and related operations becomes of great importance. 
  • The continued emphasis on “mass personalization”: As mass personalization continues to figure prominently in the arenas of product delivery and distribution, companies producing equipment to serve these industries similarly encounter the desire for increased personalization and configurability in the equipment used as part of the delivery cycle.  No two warehouse facilities are the same, and material handling equipment frequently needs to be easily tailored to support the discrepancies between buildings. 

 

For producers of equipment serving these industries, the challenges not only manifest themselves in the material handling products delivered but also in the processes and systems used to orchestrate the creation and delivery of these products.  Making the best equipment isn’t enough if it cannot be designed, produced, and delivered at the right time, and for the right price points.  In support of this, configurability continues to be of great importance, as are the abilities to quickly generate requests for proposals and rapidly engineer custom orders.  With its extensive product configuration capabilities, which are tightly bound to its Bill-of-Material structures, Epicor ERP is an excellent enterprise software option  for companies looking to scale up their organization to meet the challenges of this evolving industry.  

 

Are you looking for a strong material handling industry-based solution? Do you want to talk with Brad Feakes, Director of Professional Services? Contact us, and together we can make your company run better.

10 Internal Questions You Absolutely Need To Ask For A Successful ERP Search

10 Internal Questions You Absolutely Need To Ask For A Successful ERP Search

Internal Planning is Key to Forming ERP Search Questions 

Let’s face it, many articles have been written about companies “Outgrowing QuickBooks” or “Signs you need an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system”. But what those articles don’t usually talk about is what you can do to prep your team internally for an ERP software system; a comprehensive sales, finance, and operations system. Planning is one of those words that tends to make people groan because they know it means more work, lots of discussions, and often seems like a stalling tactic and time waster. But ultimately, asking detailed internal ERP search questions is paramount to a successful ERP evaluation and implementation

If you ask any Military General or Combat Veteran if they would go to battle without some semblance of a plan, they would probably laugh or just walk away and say nothing in response. There is a reason that ERP implementation rooms are nicknamed “War Rooms” since heavy system testing is done and current company practices come into question.

What are some of the right internal ERP search questions to ask for planning purposes? Questions like system design, usability, industry specific functionality, cost, and implementation assistance are just some aspects to consider when looking for an ERP system. I look around on the web, and I find a lot of system questions written by software vendors, but not a lot of internal company questions to ask or considerations that need to be discussed. Having talked and worked with many, many companies over the years during their ERP searches, I wanted to give some examples of planning areas and questions for companies to prep internally.

10 Internal ERP Search Questions to Get the Project Planning Started:

  1. What does my company need and want to accomplish with an ERP System?
    1. Departments that need access
    2. Financial reporting
    3. Time frame for evaluation purchase, deployment phases/locations, and full usability
  2. What are the challenges of my company’s current business software? Why is it no longer meeting the needs of my company? Look at this from a department level:
    1. Production challenges?
    2. Services challenges?
    3. Finance challenges?
    4. Executive/Owner(s) challenges?
    5. Sales & Marketing challenges?
    6. Purchasing challenges?
    7. the Warehouse(s) challenges?
    8. Research & Development challenges (if applicable)?
    9. Human Resources challenges (if required as part of an ERP search)?
  3. Is my company fully utilizing current systems in place and/or is the current software potentially sufficient with added training? (I suggest talking with an expert consultant of that software if its an ERP system to see if the current software works but isn’t being used correctly)
  4. Does my company have specific compliance or auditing conditions that are of concern? Examples: Medical CFR, Aerospace & DoD DCAA, Medical Records HIPAA, Internal export FCPA, Electronic Underwriters UL, Federal Airlines FAA, Finance SOX etc.
    1. What are the key aspects of the compliance(s) in relation to software, i.e. what data needs to be captured?
    2. What do I need an ERP to do in order for my company to meet the compliance? Reporting?
  5. Do we need a SaaS (Cloud-based) solution, On-Premise (due to data security concerns), or a Hybrid / Hosted System (which combines Cloud & On-Premise in a way)?
  6. How do we plan to care for the ERP system? Do we have IT Staff in-house to support an On-premise solution or is there an Outsourced IT Firm we can work with to help?
  7. Do we need a system that will work for 3 years, 5 years, or 10 years?
    1. How important is “scalability”?
    2. Modular system to add on functions as a company grows?
    3. Multi-company or multi-site requirements?
  8. What are the key functions we need the system to do? Look at this on a department level:
    1. What does Production need?
    2. What does Services Need?
    3. What does Finance need?
    4. What does Executive/Owner(s) need?
    5. What does Sales & Marketing need?
    6. What does Purchasing need?
    7. What does the Warehouse(s) need?
    8. What does Research & Development need (if applicable)?
    9. What does Human Resources need (if required as part of an ERP search)?
  9. What are the “nice to have” or “wanted” functions, beyond the base needed requirements?
    1. What does Production want?
    2. What does Services want?
    3. What does Finance want?
    4. What does Executive/Owner(s) want?
    5. What does Sales & Marketing want?
    6. What does Purchasing want?
    7. What does the Warehouse(s) want?
    8. What does Research & Development want (if applicable)?
    9. What does Human Resources want (if required as part of an ERP search)?
  10. What is a realistic budget and ROI for a new ERP system?
    1. Licensing budget – per month spending (cloud) or fully purchased or financed system?
    2. Implementation budget (research firms say to estimate 1 to 2 times the licensing budget for implementation costs.
    3. Software Maintenance, etc. should also be factored into a budget
    4. Hardware Systems requirement budget (especially important for On-Premise software which basically requires a data center in-house)
    5. Additional personnel / staffing requirements to support a new system
    6. What time frame do we expect to see an ROI (Return On Investment)?

 

Do you have additional questions or looking for more information? Is your company looking for an ERP system? Want to chat with the author? Contact us and we’ll do our best to help.

Levels of Leadership: The High-Flying and the Etherized

Levels of Leadership: The High-Flying and the Etherized

Photo by @rawpixel

“When the evening is spread out against the sky like a patient etherized upon a table” – T.S. Eliot

When I first began dabbling in the field of Business Process Management, the terminology of this new and strange body of knowledge perplexed me greatly.  The concept of elevation, for one thing, was utter babble to me.  Or Babel, perhaps.  My notion of “high level” carried with it certain ancient connotations—height was a luxury in the ancient world, and only the most powerful civilizations were able to get a view from above the tree tops: from a Babylonian ziggurat or an Egyptian pyramid, for instance.  Height, therefore, implied greatness, or to use one of Aristotle’s favorite terms Eudaimonia, sometimes translated as “flourishing.”  At the highest Olympian point, one breathes the rarest of airs, or so I thought.  But I was breathing the ether of an entirely different allegory.  Height, in this new world, dealt not with levels of greatness, but rather with levels of precision and abstraction.  In the business world, for something to be “high level” inferred that it was at some level of aggregation and abstraction as to be disconnected from the tactical nuances of day-to-day operations.  News to me.

Back in the day, it was common war room parlance to utter something to the degree of “we’re looking at this from thirty-thousand feet” at least once a day.  It was not until my first airplane flight that I truly understood what it meant, to look at something from that kind of distance—beautiful, and a little terrifying.  I’m more of a pavement-and-pothole kind of guy.  The other day, I was skidding down the highway in another rental, that was fortunate enough to still have a CD player hidden amongst its many modern accoutrements.  I had borrowed Jim Collins’ “Good to Great” in CD form the local lending library and spent the better part of my ride listening once again to his seminal work.  It was a fun listen: Collins began by underscoring some of the key principles of successful companies, and then went on to expound on some examples of excellence, such as…Wells Fargo, and um, Circuit City, and well…Fannie Mae?  My ride, all at once, seemed a little…dated.  I thought to myself that Collins would do well to write a follow-up to his earlier work and title it  “From Good to Great to God Awful.”  Now that would keep me engaged while ripping down the interstate!  So, maybe Lord Jim’s examples have not stood the test of time.  But I believe that the good leadership qualities that underscore successful organizations have outlived their exemplars.

To that point, whenever I think of flashy and charismatic leaders in business process management, I smell pizza. Not because of any neurological condition that would make me a risk on the open road, but due, rather, to a story a man recounted on a flight from Minneapolis to Memphis, regarding the former executive of a large manufacturing company.

Let’s call this former executive “Pep.”  Now Pep came to his role of eminence in this company not as an internal promotion, but as an outside hire, touting a flashy resume from one of America’s well-known pizza chains.  And his demeanor was more flashy than his letterhead, and greasier than the pizza he peddled.  He’d bound down the hallway in a shiny suit, talking like a sailor and firing off one-liners, like the proverbial mouthy guy at the end of the local bar.  One of his favorite lines was “yesterday’s news wraps today’s meat.”  It was a line, with his delivery, that could drive a man to veganism.  Another time, his personal assistant heard him cussing out his computer and rushed to his aide, not to discover that the company’s earnings report was unfavorable, but that he had just lost another game of solitaire.  All of this from a guy with a Fortune-500 pedigree.  It was his story, among others, that led me finally to realize that CVs are like statistics—they can be twisted to tell you whatever story you want to hear.

Of his many witticisms, one line stood out to me from the others.  When commenting on the company’s long-standing issues with the accuracy of its outside sales staff, he exclaimed.  “If they wanted you to be exact, they wouldn’t have called it estimating, they would have called it exactamating!” 

Exactamating.  As you might have guessed, Pep was a rather high-level guy.  He sounded like such a high-level, that I imagined him bantering about exactamating in the first-class section of a transatlantic flight, sucking down a gin & tonic, while eating a big greasy slice of pizza, all at thirty-thousand feet.

As you might imagine, he was also afflicted with many of the ailments that bother high-level fellows of his ilk.  For one, he didn’t sweat the details—he liked to make big decisions, make them fast, and then walk out of the room and have someone else fill in the finer points.  If you locked him in a board room with the VP of engineering, he’d find a way to slip out the ventilation shaft for a smoke before the hour was quartered.  To the folks in the trenches, it seemed like simple impatience—he seemed too impatient to be bothered with the details, and similarly too impatient or just incapable of holding any of his people accountable at any kind of detailed manner.  But at any level, the company’s failing business results empowered the CEO to request that this high-flyer to take the next flight out of town. 

Back to Good-to-Great, one of Collins’ key observations from the book has to do with the demeanor of those with good leadership qualities. Good leadership qualities for business process management, according to Collins, tend not to be of the flashy variety, full of id and ego. Rather, they tend to be soft spoken, less interested in their own presentation than in the success of their company.  Interestingly enough, this same company, who sent Pep the Pizza Man packing opted to replace him with a leader who fit Collins’ model.  For one, the new executive was a hire from within the company, and not a fly-in, as had been his predecessor.   Moreover, the new leader was much less of a showman.  Most importantly, the new leader’s obsession with the company’s success drove him to understand the company’s inner-workings at all levels.  Don’t get me wrong—he was never going to replace any of the data entry clerks, but his willingness to engage the organization, and its members at all levels was one important part of the success that the company went on to have under his leadership 

I’ll admit it: one of my guilty pleasures is the legalized blood-sport commonly referred to as mixed martial arts, or MMA.  As you may be aware, MMA involves the combination of multiple fighting arts, and they best fighters are often the ones who excel in combining these disparate arts into one integrate skillset.  One related skill in this field is the ability to “change levels”—to convince your combatant that you are going to attempt a strike, and then drop down for a wrestling takedown and quickly haul your opponent to the mat.  In my work as a consultant, I have had the good fortune to meet and work with many different managers and leaders, each with differing motives, differing personalities and differing intensities.  I find that the most successful leaders are those who similarly have the ability to change levels as needed—to move from high-level strategic thinking, down to tactical or operational problems, and then back up again.  The high-level folks often struggle with this: they are the proverbial kick boxer in a wrestling match—great when they’re on their feed, but hopeless at the ground-level.  All that being said, the next time that I have to take a flight, I think I might sneak a New York slice in with me, before I leave the ground.

Ask us any question you many have about good leadership qualities for business process management and ERP Software Implementations, we would love to chat.

How ERP Implementations are Opportunities to Strengthen Corporate Culture

How ERP Implementations are Opportunities to Strengthen Corporate Culture

It’s a curse of those that are technologically inclined to focus on the technical needs of clients. Makes sense. After all, isn’t that why we consultants are hired? To take these technical skills, that we’ve worked hard to acquire, and find technical solutions to complex problems that are typically beyond the scope of a client’s internal employees?

Most certainly. But only focusing on the software solutions ignores an important element. Identifying and working with the corporate culture can elevate a somewhat successful implementation to one that has a major impact on helping the business run better, which is The Estes Groups prime directive and guiding principle.

So how do we define a corporate culture? It’s not a tangible thing that can be defined in quantifiable terms. It’s not a product line or the location of corporate headquarters. Speaking of it in Human Terms, it’s the company’s personality and characteristics. But it’s unique in that it’s not a single person defining this personality, but the manifestation of everyone’s personality in the organization all rolled-up into a corporate culture. These attributes are then reflected in a corporation’s values, its relationships with stakeholders, investors, employees, communities, and most importantly: customers.

There’s a plethora of material written about corporate culture – written by everyone from psychiatrists to college professors. Most of these articles center around the corporate culture and how to increase the bottom line, attract and retain employees, all those things that corporate culture entails. And these are all great, but the vast majority are focused on full-time employees’ roles within corporate culture. But what about the role of a consultant and their interplay with the client and company culture? As consultants, by definition, we are short-term employees. So why should a consultant be concerned with the benefits of ERP for corporate culture? And just as important, can we consultants help to develop traits that will translate into a better corporate culture?

Every company has a culture, and it develops either organically or by design. Corporate culture is not a single process or element, but rather the cumulative effect of all parts of how a company does business. This is a good thing. But along with the good, some bad habits can develop too. And it is in these areas that a consultant can have a positive impact. Here are three areas that are often cited as negative corporate cultures but opportunity for the benefits of ERP exist:

“We work in silos”

This is a common theme in many companies. One of the benefits of ERP implementation is that it provides a new and unique opportunity to show how one department’s daily activities can have a profound impact on other departments.From Quote-To-Cash Demonstrations to Conference Room Pilots can provide a perfect environment in which to show how those individual activities can affect the entire performance of the organization. By increasing corporate awareness, along with immediate feedback of all departments activities, it provides opportunities to increase cross-departmental communication.

“I don’t feel trusted to do my job”

With a new ERP implementation, employees are provided the chance to re-establish a relationship with management by becoming an integral part in learning and utilizing the software. If our work as consultants can help an employee or an entire department become more proficient and efficient in their position, their value to the corporation is naturally increased. By becoming proficient in the software, an employee provides vital skill-sets to create or influence new business processes and procedures that then are embedded within the new software and company culture.

“I don’t see how my work contributes to the overall goals of the company”

An ERP software implementation provides a person the ability to see and understand the “10,000 ft view” of the organization, and how a department’s and individual’s goals can work in tandem to drive the company forward. By re-enforcing the company’s goals during “teachable moments”, for example during a conference room pilot or daily activities, it will show employees how their daily activities do in fact contribute to the goals of the organization.

Contact the EstesGroup today for more information on the benefits of ERP for your company culture.

Winning the Business Shuffleboard Game on the Deck of the Titanic: How lack of leadership and misguided direction sunk one long standing company

Winning the Business Shuffleboard Game on the Deck of the Titanic: How lack of leadership and misguided direction sunk one long standing company

A colleague recently recounted a story to me from his own past. It had to do with a failing business.  The company had numerous issues, in the areas of acquisition and execution, of revenue and of profit.  The issues had gotten so out of hand that the company was on the verge of closing its operations entirely.  In a last ditch effort to turn the company around, the company’s president initiated a series of process-improvement projects.  The hope was that the results of these projects would provide the necessary impetus to pull the company out of its tailspin and provide a foundation for its revitalization.  Moreover, the president had democratically distributed the projects across the organization–one for each department.  As we all know, projects consume resources, and not all of the selected projects were of the same potential impact to the company.  As such, lower-impact projects ended up pulling away resources from some of the mission-critical areas of the business, areas that had been suffering the most.  Ironically, the attempted intervention had made things worse.
 
In one telling instance, the HR department had been tasked with implementing a new HR management system.  The HR and IT staff dutifully went through the implementation cycle, soliciting requirements, selecting software, configuring the application and converting data.  Leads, supervisors, and managers spent their free time logging employee metadata into the new system.  And all of this occurred while the company missed shipments, struggled with quality issues, and scrambled to get new orders, while key employees fled to their competitors.  The HR department rolled out its new system shortly before the announcement that the company’s assets were being dissolved.  While the company overall was a disaster, the HR project was a ringing success, and when it came time to terminate the company’s staff, they were able to use the new HR system to efficiently and effectively carry the task through to its macabre conclusion.

That is, the HR department had won the proverbial shuffleboard game on the deck of the Titanic.

 In my own career, I’ve encountered a few folks who were winning deck games on a sinking ship.  And like my friend’s story, the game they were winning had nothing to do with the water that the ship was taking on.  This seems to be a common failing business mistake, in general. During good times or bad, failing businesses more often focus their efforts on the wrong areas, and because of this, the efforts of their best employees go underutilized.  Failing businesses also make the mistake of democratic project selection. Instead of business planning strategies involving a hard analysis of the key pain points in the business, management adopts generic strategies that try to support the general betterment of the company, while in truth, they are diluting their efforts with low-impact initiatives. Other times, failing companies exhibit the tendency to chase random rabbits down their burrows, mistaking the thrill of the chase for the value of the bounty.  Quite often the least successful companies are also the nicest–they avert stepping on toes and pointing out obvious issues.  Had they been on the Titanic, they would have been the ones to reclassify the iceberg as an upright collection of water molecules, the gaping breech in the hull as an additional sprinkler system, and would have continued with their polite game on the upper deck while the water levels rose.
 
In looking back at these situations, it is hard not to see this as a failure of leadership.  The leaders of the company are the ones who truly have the ability to steer a company in one direction or another.  Often, the direction is as simple as the projects that the company chooses to execute over a given year.  But the projects selected quite often serve to have the most impact on the company’s ultimate destination.  
 
But one might ask just what kind of business planning strategies separate leaders who safely pull their ships into harbor from the ones that send them to Davy Jones’ locker. While there are probably a number of reasonable answers to the above question, I would contend that the most successful managers from my own past were buoyant due, among other things, to their knowledge of their industry.  The best managers obsess about the workings of their business, and the industry in which it resides, and base their business planning strategies and a vast and well-integrated understating of the dynamics of the environment in which their company competes.
 
To put it simply, there is no replacement for domain-knowledge.  The best leaders I have worked with understand this principle.  No leader is an expert in all areas, but when good leaders assume leadership of a company, they immediately dive into a phase of learning–about the business, its culture, its business climate, the market conditions, and whatever additional factors are required to allow the leader to be able to make good decisions.  And once this knowledge has been amassed, the leaders go about applying their knowledge to their business planning strategies. They make an honest assessment of the company, its opportunities, and its issues.  And in response, they make decisions that drive how the company’s limited resources are to be sequestered, to address issues or take advantage of opportunities. 
 
And their decisions tend to be the better ones.  Far away from the shuffleboard deck, they are at the helm, altering course to avoid the bergs and burglars that would threaten their business.  The worst managers I’ve encountered take the opposite approach–they tout the importance of surrounding themselves with good people, while they themselves are often missing in action, preferring instead to galivant about town, wining and dining the city’s elite, seeking to impress, when they should be impressive, seeking to woo when they should be working.  While I certainly do not question the importance of a manager building a first-rate team, it takes leadership and involvement to collect, engage, and focus the individual talent in the right direction.  And the inability to make good directional decisions, to guide these good people, generally results from the leaders’ inadequate preparation and/or dedication to his or her craft.
 
To return to the title of this post–if the captain of the ship is wasting his time winning games of shuffleboard, the crew will flounder, and ultimately, the ship will founder. So contact the EstesGroup today, and take advantage of our business process review, management, and improvement services.
Becoming A Better Salesperson that Sells for a Manufacturing Company

Becoming A Better Salesperson that Sells for a Manufacturing Company

The Prospect has Objections
What are the Common Ones
&
How Do You Handle Them?

Prospect objections arise for different reasons and have different implications on whether you selling anything or not. Some objections will be legitimate, but many times prospects will just make the statement when they’re just trying to brush you off. Below are four common prospects “delay or blow-off” statements and a few suggestions on how to handle them.

  1. “We’re just starting to review our purchasing options”What it means is: Your prospect is in the early stages of their buying/bidding process. They tell you they’re “just looking” because they want to continue to maintain control of their buying process and it’s too early for them to engage with a salesperson right now.
    Most manufacturing salespeople will take that at face value and allow the prospect to end the conversation. But this is the wrong approach, because the next time you contact them, they’ll most likely provide you a similar answer.A better way to handle the objection might be: To stop selling and acknowledge that if you’re a little early in their buying/bidding process that you’re not trying to sell anything, but you’re just inquiring to what products they might need you to quote on down the road so when they do go out for bid, you’ll be prepared to be of service. A common, but the wrong response is, “I’m glad to hear you’re looking. Here are a dozen reasons I think our products, company, services, etc. would be a great fit for you.”

    The correct response accomplishes three (3) things.
    First, you’ve shown that you listened to the prospect by acknowledging they’re not ready to buy. Many prospects use this delay phrase because they’ve gotten the hard sell too early far too many times before. If you’re polite and calm with your prospect they shouldn’t be afraid to continue the conversation and give you a little more information.

    Second, you’ve let the prospect know you’re interested in getting to know them, so you can be helpful and provide a service at a later time.
    Third, maybe the prospect didn’t think they had other buying options. Providing a quick example of how you’ve helped your customers with a similar approach of getting a list of parts/products earlier to start thinking about Vs when it’s actually out to bid/quote might provide them a viable reason to engage with you further either on your current call or subsequent calls. If you’ve gotten a better understanding of your prospect’s problem, you might tell them, that you’ll follow up your call with some helpful information, not on your company, product or service, but with some information that can be of help to him/her, so they remember the next time you contact them that you’re not one of those salespeople that’s only interested in selling stuff.

  2. “We’re going with the lowest bid/quote when we make our decision”What it means is: You haven’t established the value of your service, product or company.How to handle it: This objection might come at several points in the sales process but is a common sales objection manufacturing salespeople need to address when it comes up and your prospect is trying to blow you off.

    Your job is to show your prospect the value of having them work with you Vs just considering the price. You need to emphasize your value over price. Remember “Value Statements” about your product/service/company need to be specific that can be tied to a dollar equivalent that represents your higher price (i.e. If you work with XYZ manufacturing, because of our cloud ERP system we can provide you an online portal that you can monitor your inventory levels of your product(s) as well as order online which saves you “X” numbers of hours/month, etc. etc. )

  3. “We’re not ready to make a buying decision right now.”What it means is: This objection is commonly heard when a salesperson is trying to close the business. Assuming your prospect has the authority to purchase your product or service and you have thoroughly qualified the opportunity (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe (BANT)), this objection means they still might need more information or it could signify that they’re waiting to hear back from your competition.How to handle it: Take a step back. Don’t be defensive. Ask your prospect if you can review their buying process to make sure you haven’t missed any steps to cause the delay? If you’ve taken the time to understand their buying process (which oh, by the way, should resemble your selling process) and documented that process and shared it with your prospect along their buying journey, it might expose the prospect, in a nice way, to provide you information about your competition to gain an edge when it comes time for final negotiations. It might also be noted here if you’re in a competitive situation, ask what points of vendor differentiation your prospect is examining, and provide resources that show why your offering is the best option. If they simply need more information, drill down to the area of your solution they’re still uncertain about.
  4. “Is this your best price?”What it means is: “Can I get a better deal” (i.e. your value statement, above, didn’t help and the price is probably still the primary determining factor of who they’ll buy from.How to handle it: Your prospect’s voice tone is important here. How you respond to this objection depends on your ability to read your prospect. Do they sound like they’re ready to play hardball, or are they asking, because that’s expected in your industry?

 

You can either give a discount or hold firm. Your product is priced the way it is for a reason, so don’t give away the store! Remember if do go down the path of offering your prospect a discount you need something in exchange for the discount (i.e. a longer-term commitment, a signed contract on the spot, a larger quantity purchase, etc., etc.).
There are of course hundreds of other objections or variations of the above objections a manufacturing salesperson hears if they’re selling long enough. The bottom line here is if you take the time to get to know your prospects and thoroughly understand their buying situation (BANT), you should be able to overcome most objections like the ones above; which should result in more sales. Don’t be just another bid or quote.