- Tiebreaker selling: how nonstrategic suppliers can help customers solve important problems
- Harvard Business Review
- Volume | Issue number
- 92 | 3
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam Business School Research Institute (ABS-RI)
In B2B markets, suppliers of nonstrategic products and services tend to assume they have only two options for landing sales: stressing their offerings’ unique characteristics and competing on price. The problem is, the features touted often don’t matter to purchasing managers, and neither do price concessions. How, then, do you win their business? The authors’ research with 46 companies points to a solution: After meeting the customer’s basic specs within an acceptable price range, give the purchasing manager "a justifier"—an extra that provides obvious value to the business. A car-leasing company, for instance, might offer the option to cancel a number of contracts without penalty, or a delivery service might print customers’ logos on their envelopes. The justifier provides a clear-cut reason to select one supplier over others and breaks the tie among the finalists on the short list.
To uncover justifiers, you should explore how customers use your offerings, learn about their priorities and those of their customers, and look at ways to integrate your offerings with other suppliers’. The right justifier can win you more business—and even help you launch a new one.