Sales Tips: Bad Assumption #3 - "I Just Compete with Vendors"
By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company
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One of my favorite Mark Twain quotes is: “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” [This is a continuation of the Bad Assumptions series. Read Bad Assumption #1 here and Bad Assumption #2 here.]
There is a tremendous advantage when a salesperson can gain access to a Key Player, take that person from latent to active need, and establish themselves as “Column A” (the vendor that most closely matches the buyer’s requirements). What’s especially rewarding is the fact that if a seller gets to a high enough level, unbudgeted initiatives can be funded. Have you ever given thought to how this happens?
Even when working for companies that are doing well, senior executives don’t have blank checks for unbudgeted funds. If a seller can present (or the executive can see) a strong payback, the executive can have a look at all the budgeted projects in a given year and rob Peter to pay Paul. That is to say they can decide not to move forward with budgeted initiatives that they feel don’t provide as much benefit. Upon hearing about this concept years ago in one of my workshops, a student approached me at a break and realized in trying to sell software to a heating oil distributor, he had lost a software sale to a delivery truck!
According to a Sales Benchmark Index survey, over 50% of sales cycles result in “no decision,” where vendors get told they would not be moving forward with a budgeted initiative and may consider pushing it back into the following year.
The best defense against being displaced by competitors is to take the offensive. By that I mean work with prospects and customers to build a strong cost vs. benefit that will make it more difficult to postpone or cancel expenditures.
Making cost vs. benefit a part of every proposal maximizes the chances you won’t get the bad news of “no decision” on opportunities you felt had been sold.
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