From the Strategic Selling Tips "oldie but goodie" section: dealing with tire-kickers and quote-seekers.
How often do you hear, "Just send us a quote"?
Makes you nuts, right? I feel like saying, "What am I, a quote monkey?"
Prospects who tell you they are just looking for quotes, either...
- don't value what you sell,
- don't know the value you offer (you do offer value beyond the item, right) or
- they already know what they want and from whom they will acquire it, so they just want a second or third bid to pass "upstairs" to "prove" they got the best price.
In an ideal world, you've created an agenda prior to being invited over, which helps you prevent this stall from being thrown in your face.
- Only 3 Things Can Happen When You Submit A Sales Proposal (And 2 Are Bad)
- Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, "The Negotiator," Helps You Sell More
But if you are still selling the old-school way and this delay tactic is thrown into your lap, there are a couple of ways you can handle this.
- The frontal assault. Use when you feel you are simply being blown off, there is no rapport, and the prospect is saying this to either "put you in your place" or use you just to get another bid to check a box.
Sounds like you're looking for a peddler of products. Let me give you the name of my competitor. He's cheap but he knows better than anyone what his product is worth."Harsh? A little.
But so are they when they just call and ask you to dance like a chicken in a circus.
- The "let's imagine" approach. Use this when you either haven't followed The Sales Agenda or you have, and the prospect is still playing games.
Ms. Prospect, I'd be happy to get you a quote. Let's imagine you have the quote in your hands and it looks great. What happens then?"This could also be called the "quid pro quo" or "close first, then present" approach.
You confirm what you'll get in return for what you give.
You close on the next-next step before you take the next step.
In trial law, attorneys are taught never to ask a question they don't know the answer to.
You need to apply the same concept here with the modification that you don't take the next step until you're sure what the next step is, its direction, and its purpose.
- The "is it over?" approach. Often our prospects ask for a quote because they either don't want to get into a long, drawn-out negotiation and/or they are just not interested in what we offer but don't want to say it to our faces and hurt our feelings.
If you get a sense that this is the case (because you didn't get The Sales Agenda to take this objection away ahead of time), say this.
Mr. Prospect, I get the sense that you're just trying to be nice and don't want to tell me no. Is that the case? It's okay if it is. Your time and my time is valuable. If you just don't feel like what I offer is of value we can close the books for now and revisit it whenever you think is a better time."Most people seek to avoid confrontation and feel bad about dashing your hope as a salesperson, so they'll make the mistake of stringing you along instead of just ripping off the BAND-AID®.
Save both of you time and aggravation by simply addressing the elephant in the room. You'll both be glad you did.
In all things, seek to add value.
Prove it in everything you do.
Prove you're a "different" salesperson by acting and selling differently.
If push comes to shove and you know your arch-enemy is in on the deal and may be in a better position than you, you can go in really low for one of two reasons:
- To make your competitor drop their prices even more to hurt both their margins and their pride, or
- You're willing to buy the business, which can make sense if you're trying to break in to a strategic account that has been loyal to your competition or you're trying to break into a new industry or new vertical.
Sometimes going low makes sense, but always confirm what your buyer will do once you do go that low, or you'll hate yourself in the morning...and for many mornings to come.
It does you no good to be second-cheapest in that scenario.
Find out what it will take to buy the business and/or hurt your competition and get it done so you can move on to a more profitable business.
How you protect yourself and leverage that sale for future profits is the subject of another post.
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.