The fairly short answer to this question is “Yes and no – it depends”
Depends on what? Well, it depends on whether we are discussing a reactive sales opportunity, or a pro-active one.
Allow me to explain: A “reactive sales opportunity”is when we are approached by a prospect or existing client, to provide a quotation/proposal/price. These days, that is called “inbound” They have pre-selected us as a potential supplier, because now, if it is true that these people are coming in much further up the “decision curve”they are already armed with most of the information they need to make a final decision.
This means they have, in all probability, researched our company; familiarized themselves with our product/solution offerings; checked out our track record; assessed us against their buying criteria, and reached the conclusion that we may – and it is only mayat this point – be a possible contender to become their preferred supplier.
The fact that they are approaching us makes this what I term a “reactionary sale”They have made the first move, and as such, have removed much of the need for us to sell ourselves to them – they have eliminated a considerable chunk of the foreplay stage, but we should not assume that they are prepared to go straight to the cigarette!
It would be easy – and understandable – to assume that they are merely now looking for the lowest price, but in most cases this is not true: They will most certainly be looking for the best value for money, and price performance, which could include a fairly complex criteria: That criteria will include specific and relevant strengths, such as demographics, and even psychographics; a successful track record with similar deals/installations; longevity in the market; financial stability; leadership in the sector, etc.
In this scenario, if we are able to satisfy all of their needs, it is highly unlikely we are going to encounter many objections, if any.
Let me illustrate my point …
Imagine that you are in the market for a new car: You decide that you would like to buy a second-hand Range Rover, and you go online to locate all the dealers close to your location. You call the first one on the list, Farrington Range Rovers R’ us and you get to speak to the owner, Jono Farrington.
The call would probably go like this:
You: “Good morning, I am thinking about buying a second-hand Range Rover, what do you have in stock?”
JF: “Good morning madam/sir (the Farrington family are renowned for their courtesy) may I ask you a few questions to determine your precise requirements?”
You: “Yes, of course” (you aren’t going to say) ”No, you have to guess”
JF: “To begin with, can I determine your budget i.e. how much do you want to pay?”Absolutely critical question, for obvious reasons
You: “I really don’t want to spend more than $50.000, and it would be good if I could spend less”
JF: “OK, that means we are looking at a two year model, with around 20.000 miles on the clock, is that acceptable?”
You: “Yes, that is what I was expecting, I have done some research”
JF: “Do you have a preference for color?”
You: “I really love the metallic silver”
JF: “OK, and transmission, manual or automatic?”
You: “Definitely auto, please”
JF: “What about upholstery, do you prefer leather?”
You: “Oh yes, definitely”
JF: “What about extras like tow-bars, CD player, satellite-navigation, etc.?”
You: “Well, music is a plus, but air-con is essential, please”
JF: “When are you looking to purchase/take delivery – what are your time scales?”
You: “If I find exactly what I am looking for, I have finance arranged, and can take delivery immediately”
JF: “Please leave it with me, and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours – is that OK?”
You: “That’s great, thank you”
Within 24 hours, I call you back as promised: “Good morning, this is Jono Farrington from Farrington Range Rovers R’ us, we spoke yesterday about your requirements for a Range Rover”
You: “Oh yes, good morning”
JF: “Can I confirm that your requirements are still exactly the same?”
You: “Yes, they are the same as we discussed yesterday”
JF: “OK, good. I have sourced a 2013 model, so it is just fifteen months old, with 14.000 miles on the clock. It is metallic silver with automatic transmission, air-conditioning, and a top of the range CD unit. It also has the latest satellite navigation system, which is a bonus. Oh, and it is just $42.000 -when would you like to come and collect it?”
What just happened in that scenario? Well, quite simply, I matched your requirements – in fact I exceeded them (to use another well-worn cliché) you were prepared to pay $50.000, so I saved you a considerable sum of money. You also would have accepted a vehicle with up to 20.000 miles, and of course, whilst not instantly obvious, that sat-nav will come in very useful.
This was a typical reactive sales opportunity, and after thorough qualification, I not only matched your needs, but also left you with no opportunity to raise an objection.