“No thanks, we are happy with our current supplier” is what many salespeople hear every day. A common response while on the phone with a prospective buyer or during a visit after you have pitched – the best you got- to convince the person on the other side of the table to switch to your products and services. Or you hear “thanks, but to make us switch, can you match our current supplier’s rates?” or any variation to this including “give me a better price”.
Sounds familiar? What you hear however is not what the buyer thinks; they are just polite to you or make you go away with some hope. The reality is a hard wake-up call. They think – I do not want to continue with this conversation, going through a discovery phase of which I know ends up looking at PowerPoint presentations I have seen all too often. Or – what I hear from you so far and what you have shown me is not the right answer we are looking for. Many prospects on calls with salespeople think too often – I have no time for this, I have other priorities!
Yes, it should be a hard wake-up call like a bucket of cold water thrown into your face.
We should come to a few realizations:
- Buyers expect different things from me in our conversations
- To achieve every year growth targets I need to do something different
- It’s not the better price I cannot offer anyway, or the competitor offering better prices…
No, it’s me – It’s me who got to change the way I sell. I need to take the products, services and price conversation to a whole different level. It has to be a business conversation meeting the new expectations of prospective buyers.
They expect me to:
- Understand their business situation faster and better. They don’t like me to ask them so many discovery questions. I am expected to be on a certain knowledge level about their business so we can continue exploring their world of competitiveness and growth targets and how they are planning to achieve that.
- Come with insights and new ideas about growth and managing cost to their table. I am expected to share information they don’t know and is relevant to their business challenges. During their online research, they realize there are information gaps and they hope I can fill these. These insights and ideas should shine a different perspective on their situation and challenges – they may not have thought of before.
- Having a certain level of Business Acumen. I am expected to offer customers a vision of improvement of their business, not only by showing what a better world looks like but also to back this up with return on investment facts and statements.
- Share my experience and observations with similar businesses in similar situations. Prospective buyers do not expect me to share company secrets, but being an account manager of a customer portfolio I am in a unique position to form opinions what works and what doesn’t in this ever-changing world.
- Meet with more stakeholders and help driving consensus. Customer Change Champions – just to give a name to people in organizations who respect your insights, ideas, and opinions – need help to get more stakeholders on board. They see me as a facilitator who can help with that.
- Lastly, they expect me NOT to waste their time. Every contact I have, with whomever in the prospect’s organization, needs to add value. The time spent with me needs to be valuable, more than spending time on other priorities they have. They want me to come back because I am a person worth knowing.
Only then prospects start to rethink their situation and decisions made so far. Only then they will doubt themselves if their current supplier is set up well enough for them to grow and achieve what they are trying to achieve. Only then they will open that door to change a little bit, wondering if they are better off and better positioned for the future when they have changed their business over to me.
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