Focusing on “solutions sales” rather than “product sales” is a strategic shift that can insulate a distributor against looming threats facing the industry, according to Paul Giler, regional industrial sales manager, Mayer Electric Supply, Birmingham, AL, in New Solutions for Customer-Defined Value.
“It’s no longer just selling a brown box; you could buy a brown box on Amazon,” Giler says. “We’re doing more solution-type selling, trying to solve a need. The customer may have asked for this, but what does he really want?”
Giler uses the old example of a customer asking for a hammer and a nail when they really need the best way to hang a picture on the wall. A distributor has to provide a better, smarter solution instead of just the hardware.
“I don’t think you’re going to see online companies provide that,” Giler says. “When there’s a problem, a customer can pick up the phone and we’re going to answer their question and show them something they haven’t thought of.”