Are you familiar with the term box shifter?
It’s a term that I have frequently heard used about channel partners, and it is not a good one! A box shifter refers to a company (or a salesperson) that is only interested in selling a press. They are not interested in a long-term relationship with the customer. And they are rarely interested in selling anything else other than the press.
Their sole focus is to see how many press units they can move during their current sales period. As soon as the sale is made, the customer is forgotten. The company is moving on to the net prospect.
Box shifters lead to commodity pricing
Because they just want to sell as many presses as possible, box shifters aren’t afraid to put in low, low prices. They simply want to undercut the competition and end up with a greater market share.
As soon as you find more than one box shifter in a territory, prices can come tumbling down. This does not benefit anyone.
Surely low prices benefit the customer?
Actually, this is not the case. The customer may be able to buy their press on the cheap. But they miss out on the chance to benefit from the right levels of dealer service that are essential for an efficient business.
It is not just press maintenance levels they are missing out on. They are also missing the opportunity to gain proper strategic advice on how they can develop their business to grow and to become more profitable.
Here are some conversations that good channel partners should be having with their prospects and customers:
- The levels of service available for a press
- The availability of backup press time
- Marketing and sales training
- How to educate customer markets
- How to develop markets with new offerings
- Opportunities to network and learn best business practice
Many channel partners try to have these conversations. The trouble is that they often happen too late. If this dialogue is started up early enough in the sales process, the customer understands the true culture of the channel partner and why this can benefit their business. It means that they are often prepared to choose a supplier on issues other than price.
This benefits everyone. The customer gets a better backup and an opportunity to grow their business. The channel partner gets a fair price.
However, if these conversations are started when buying decisions are about to be made, the box-shifters are often close to closing the sale. It is too late to influence a prospect’s mind in this way.
What conversations are you having to introduce these ideas to your customers?
Are you educating them an encouraging them to have a value-driven conversation as opposed to a price-led conversation? Or are you just a box shifter?
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