It was Friday afternoon. Tom had just hired me to help him
grow his business. During our telephone call I asked him to
put together a package of information that included copies
of cover letters, proposals, presentations; and any advertising,
marketing and promotional material that he gave to his clients.
He said that would be fine and it would go out on Monday for
our next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
During our Tuesday meeting I asked if he had sent the package of
information, which I had not yet received. He said, “Yes, it was
sent yesterday morning.” We let it go and moved onto other things.
When we got together on Thursday afternoon, he asked if I had
received his package which had been sent by overnight
delivery three days earlier. It still hadn’t arrived.
On Friday afternoon it showed up.
The following week we talked about his materials. After a few minutes, the conversation shifted to his choice for an overnight service. I asked why he had chosen the company he was currently using. Tom explained that they were selected because their
pricing was lower than Federal Express.
“But FedEx delivers on time. Your current provider doesn’t.” I said.
[This isn’t meant to be a FedEx commercial.]
Funny you should mention that, because on Friday morning, my office manager got another call from Sue, the FedEx sales rep, who has been calling on us for the past six months. After our most recent shipping problems, we decided to move our account over to them.
“For how long have you been getting such poor service from
your current overnight service?” I asked.
“Quite a while. In fact you’re not the first person who hasn’t received one of my packages in a timely manner.” Tom said. He continued.
“A couple of weeks ago we almost had a terrible experience. I was
speaking with John, a prospect who was about to make a decision
to purchase some equipment for his plant.
I asked if I could overnight him some additional information
before he made his final decision. He said sure.
“We scheduled a call to talk at 11:30 a.m. the following morning. I got off the phone. Dropped everything, and spent the next two hours updating our proposal. Put the package together. Called the
delivery service, and had it picked up that evening.
“At 11:30 a.m. the next morning I called John and asked his thoughts about our updated proposal. There was a long pause. Finally he said ‘I haven’t received anything from you yet. Did you send it out?’
“Fumbling for words, I told him that I had spent two hours reworking the proposal and that I had personally handed the envelope to the driver. As panic was setting in I asked if I could fax him a copy him and talk about it after lunch.
“John sighed, and I could tell by the tone in his voice that he wasn’t
happy, but he said that would be fine. When we spoke in the
afternoon — I’m proud to say — I closed the deal. But it could have been disastrous.”
“When did the package arrive?” I asked.
“The following day.” Tom replied.
Which brings us back to Sue, the FedEx sales rep.
“When Sue called on your company, what questions did she ask you?” I asked.
“The only thing she ever talked about was price. She asked us how
many packages we shipped on a daily or weekly basis and then pulled out her rate card. It always came up higher than our present carrier.”
We told her that her rates were too high. She thanked us for our
time. And the conversation ended.
“Did she ever ask you any questions about the quality of service you were getting?”
“Not once.” Tom replied.
“How would the conversation have gone if she had asked you this question: ‘On a scale of 1 – 10, how would you rate the quality of the service you’re receiving from your present overnight carrier?’ ” I asked.
Tom didn’t hesitate for a second. “I would have told her about the
numerous times that packages were picked up late and delivered late.
About the number of times we had to call to find out the status of
a late shipment — Talk about wasting time. About how fed up we were with their poor service.”
And what would you have done if Sue had asked, “Which is more
important to you, saving a few dollars on the cost of each order,
or knowing that it will be delivered on time?”
“I would have signed up in a minute.”
But Sue didn’t ask the right questions, and Tom and his customers
didn’t get the service they needed.
And that’s the message I want to impart to you today:
”’Stop talking about price.”’
Start talking about:
Going back to Tom and John for a moment. What if John had said,
“Tom, I appreciate your interest, but I’ve got to make a decision
this morning and your package of information hasn’t arrived yet.
I’m just going to have to place the order with someone else.”
Because Tom was trying to save a couple of bucks on an overnight
service, he could have lost a $46,528 order.
In today’s highly competitive world, we’re too focused on price,
and not focused on the customer’s needs.
When you’re talking with a prospect on the phone, don’t assume that the current vendor/supplier is doing a great job. If you do you’re sabotaging yourself.
I cringe when I hear sales people say things like this when speaking with a prospect: “I know you’re already working with a supplier, but I want to come by and introduce myself to you because you may need competitive pricing or a second supplier at some future time, and then you’ll be familiar with me and my company.”
What a waste of everybody’s time. You’re not in the business of
introducing yourself and building relationships.
You’re in the business of asking great questions so you can identify
problems and offer a solution that will add value to your customer’s business or life.
One day I was with a sales rep who said with a great deal of pride,
“It took me 10 years to get my biggest customer.”
I said to myself, why did it take him so long? He just kept on calling
until the previous vendor left the business, retired, or messed up
big-time. He certainly didn’t take the time to discover the prospects’
Furthermore, whose got the patience to call on a prospect for 10
years. That’s an awful lot of rejection. You should be looking for people who want to say ”’yes.”’ Not calling on the same people
over-and-over again who continue to say ”’no.”’
I’ve just written a training manual “Overcoming the Fear of Cold Calling.” It walks you through my time-tested methodology of how to use the telephone to get appointments, create opportunities, close more sales, and make more money.
Here’s the link to Read More:
”’Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey Mayer’s Succeeding In Business Newsletter. (Copyright, 2003, Jeffrey J. Mayer, Succeeding In Business, Inc.) To subscribe to Jeff’s free newsletter, visit:”’ http://www.SucceedingInBusiness.com