What Salespeople Learn To Say To You

PurchTips edition #71


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Would You Grant This Salesperson The Appointment?

More and more, your job as a corporate purchaser is to collaborate with suppliers to achieve competitive advantage for your organization. So there is a shift occurring in the purchasing paradigm. Suppliers whose only value proposition is a lower price (usually without concern for the total cost of ownership) are feeling this shift. Big time.

Suppliers, therefore, must change the way they sell to you. Jill Konrath is a widely respected sales trainer who helps salespeople adapt to today's purchasing paradigm. Today's resource features a post from her blog, entitled "We're Happy With Our Present Suppliers." I think you'll find it interesting to see how salespeople are being trained to deal with you. Here is Jill's post, printed in its entirety:

Question: When trying to get into prospective customers, I run into the "we're happy with our current suppliers" and "we're not interested in any new vendors" response. What 5 provocative questions can be asked of a person whose head is in the sand?

Jill's Response:

Let me guess. You probably started your phone conversation with something like this:

"Hi. My name is Jim and I'm with XYZ company. We specialize in high-quality products and other top-notch service. I'd like to get together with you to see how you're currently handling your needs in this area and share with you how we could help you out."

That's the typical phone spiel everyone gives. Guess what? A prospect's typical response is...exactly what you heard! Why?

  • Change of any sort is a hassle.
  • You've given them no good reason why changing is worth it.
  • You sound exactly like every other salesperson who calls.

So they tell you they're happy with their current supplier. When they give you this "blow-off" response, you likely ask:

  • Who are you currently using?
  • What do you like/dislike about them?
  • What would it take to get you to consider other suppliers?
  • If we could offer you a better price, would you be interested?

None of these questions are effective. They just dig you a deeper hole as the prospect reiterates why she/he doesn't want to change.

So rather than focusing on 5 provocative questions to ask after you've created the obstacle - think about how to eliminate it.

Ask yourself, what problems could they be having with their current supplier? What might they want to accomplish that is difficult right now?

Do some pre-call analysis to determine their goals. Figure out how you might align yourself with their objectives. Determine if you can close any gaps that might exist.

Then call up and say, "I've been studying your business...In my research, I learned that...And I have some ideas I'd like to discuss with you about how we could...(solve a big problem or help them achieve a goal)".

You'll never hear the "We're not interested in new vendors" objection with that approach. They want to learn more.

But it means you have to invest more time upfront in preparation. If you're not willing to do that, forget about getting in. You haven't earned it.

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