In the first stage, a buyer is defining the requirements of the product or service that's needed for their company, whether it be CNC machining services, packaging materials, or a custom spring. It's important for you, as a potential supplier, to identify the total available market for your products and/ or services, have your shipping policies and options on your website and on the Thomas Network, in addition to promoting your business information through advertising and sponsored content to reach these prospects.

As a buyer is doing research, they're not specifically looking for a company to partner with just yet likely they're determining what to consider, whether it's necessary to address the business need and if it's a fit from a financial perspective. To help support, you should educate buyers on your purchasing terms, showcase your different certification programs and processes, and let them know which ones they should really focus on.

Buyers here are defining how to evaluate products and services based on what's needed and evaluate the alternatives. By educating them on your products, and if they can replace obsolete products or be a better substitute, this can result in getting spec'd in months — or years — before a project is even announced.

This is the definitive stage where buyers tend to step out of the theoretical and dive right into seeking out particular suppliers. You must provide as much information as possible on your quality assurance practices, JIT performance, etc., on your website and on your Thomas Network profile.

Buyers are staking companies up against one another to see what is the best fit for their criteria, and it's your job to make the phone ring or to get them to fill out an RFQ. You need to show how you're different — indicate your willingness to offer volume discounts, show off stories from happy customers, etc.

In the purchase stage, you should offer your buyer samples, additional detailed information he or she requested and the opportunity to tour your facility (bonus points if you have an online video virtual tour). Even if you close the deal, your job isn't done yet — you need to keep the customer happy and informed with on-going support. (And you need to stay top of mind!)

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When you work with Thomas, you're backed by 120 years of industry experience to target all stages of the buying process — our products and services are engineered to work together to best serve your company's needs.

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The free tool that enables suppliers to turn anonymous in-market buyers into sales leads.

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