Become more successful as a lifecycle supplier

When ship owners invest in new vessels and upgrades they are dealing with huge investments. Vessels will often be in operations upto 30-40 years, which makes that decisions have an impact for a very long lifetime.

I have worked on the marine equipment supplier side for nearly 20 years now, and I have learned that one of the challenge for marine companies (often the shipowners) is, that they need to make decisions for such a long time period. Therefore they deal with a lot of uncertainties at the time of their new investment.

At the moment of the decision it is hard to oversee the risks over time, such as changing regulations, changing customer needs, etc and the impact on their business.
As a marine supplier you want to take some of those risks away and give your customers a more worry free future and earn some money along the way, don’t you?

However selling to these shipping companies is not an easy task. Ideally you want to win their trust to partner up with you for that long period of time already in the beginning of the lifecycle, because you also want some certainty of income.

So how do you increase business?

Offering a low price is of course nice for the customer and will probably help his decision to buy from you, but that will only give you a short term advantage. You are not in the game for short term gains, are you? You want to win long term business!

So, I have 7 straightforward rules that help you succeed in your long term lifecycle selling. This has already proven its success on the supply side of the marine industry, so why wouldn’t it also work in lots of other B2B businesses with long (and shorter) lifecycles.

  1. Listen to your customer – ask them what they want and don’t assume you know already!
  2. Engage early enough with your customers to influence the investment decision.
  3. Talk to the correct contact level in the customer organization & speak your customer’s language.
  4. Make sure you understand the operations side of your customer (how they use and operate their assets).
  5. Sell & Serve as one team – no internal competition.
  6. Keep your promisses and deliver the value that you have ensured. Walk the talk.
  7. Probably most importantly is to have patience. Remember you are in there for the long run.

Do you really know your customers? What do they want from you? How can you improve doing business with them?

Drop me a message if you like to exchange thoughts with me. I am happy to help you getting deeper insights into your customers’ needs.


Posted on 2019 mei 02.