Friday, August 15, 2008

"Flashback" Friday: Putting the Last Nail in the Coffin of Your Competitor

Oh no, the most dreaded words we could possibly hear. "William, well I know I said I was going to go ahead with the order, but...I just feel like we been with this vendor so long, I really...uh...maybe things will change down the road. I’m going to give them another chance.”

You got in the door with the prospect. You gave them a good price, a profit justified solution, and got a "yes" answer. Hell, you didn't even close, the deal closed itself.

Now comes the dreaded call two days later. Your competitor undercut the price and begged to keep the business. Here is how the conversation started, “We have been doing business together for years Mr. Customer, and we will do whatever we need to do to keep your business.”

The bottom line here is you could have prevented this from happening. How? Confirm with the decision maker with a scenario like the following:

“Mr. Prospect, I know you told me you wanted to move forward in doing business together. I’m very appreciative of this decision, but still, I’m sure you current vendor is going to be pretty frustrated in losing your business. I’ve obviously very excited about getting started, but I need to know something before putting the work into making this business transaction happen. If they cut their price, beg for your business back, are you going to change your mind?”

Almost universally, the prospective customer will answer with “No, let’s go ahead and move forward.” To hand this business back, they must now break their “word” with you. It could still happen, but most likely your competitor is out the door for good. The only way you can let them back in is by breaking your “word”. Execute this strategy, and you will mortally wound your competitor before they even have a chance to fire a bullet back at you.


nesh thompson said...

Nice post Will. I Like the preemptive strike theory, but it also strongly reminds us of the non-linear nature of business. You may have a sales process and your prospect might on appearance be running nicely in conjunction with it, but their buying process involves multiple connections with other people, namely your competitors and they have the potential to affect your deal right up to when the contract is signed.

From the Author: Will Fultz said...

I agree with your point, Nesh. There are a lot of salespeople like myself, however, that do six- figure deals with repeat customers where no contract is signed (even though it is sometimes). For selling in this environment (where one decision-maker is the primary player), this technique is very important.

I've sold deals where buying decisions by committee have been in play. I still think if you get to the right person, however, you can bypass this process somewhat. I'm not saying this task is easy, though.