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your time and mine.”


Despite the years of aggravation, to this day Kraft continues to occa- sionally call on the powers that be in this particular no-buy relationship, leaving the door open for round two. “You never know what’s changed for this no-buy client, so I have to touch base,” he points out.


What fails to work with one pros- pect makes all the difference in the world to another. Kraft recently filled a $120,000 order from a large school district that previously said it could afford only $15,000, which turned out to have been a way to test his professional service commitment. He passed that test and, according to his company feedback, many dis- tricts tell the company’s competitors they’ll work only with Kraft, because he’s there when they need him with superior service. “I like to hear that,” he admits.


Kraft maintains equality in salesper- son-client relationships by revising his expectations of no-buy companies. Now Kraft asks them for contacts at more profitable PTA and private- school customers in the area. Seth Payson, a sales manager for a building insulation manufacturing company, takes this turn-the-other- cheek twist to the next level. He readily acknowledges that his worst offender ignores his sales service ef- forts “because my competitor is their favorite supplier in the world.” Still, even the worst “quote collectors” need more than one bid to meet proj- ect requirements, and one particular facility selected Payson.


‘‘


The scenario begins, Payson ex- plains, with a phone call requesting a bid. Then he drops in at the compa- ny’s warehouse on a bid fact-finding mission to gather information about his competitor. The competitor’s parts are on display for him to count. The lack of quality is evident at a glance. “I can say things like, ‘Oh, is this typi- cal of the quality you get?’ My guide says, ‘No, this is a bad one.’ I just grin and ask him about the next bad one, too. Usually he changes the subject at that point,” Payson says. Payson habitually delivers his quote to the no-buys at the last hour, hand delivering it to maxi- mize his impact. With polite banter, he pins them down with a straight question: “If I offer the best price, will I get the business?” The creative backpedaling begins. Payson has heard everything – including the excuse that Huntington’s location is too distant, although he maintains it’s as close as the competitor’s. Payson relives these sweaty mo- ments when he needs quick amuse- ment, or a mental punching bag, as he deals with more serious prospects. However, he also has no thoughts of cutting this client loose. “I don’t like to no-quote anyone,” Payson emphasizes. “The next time some- thing comes up, they say, ‘These guys didn’t quote it last time, so they can’t handle the work.’ That’s my company’s reputation on the line. The trick is not to take it personally.”


Kraft, on the other hand, uses the no-buy exercise as a type of self- check. “Face it. Sometimes you cross


Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.


STEPHEN COVEY


Good Idea


Quote tire kickers … but …


Ask for something in return.


the line into being too persistent, too pesky. You have to learn how to read people, and constant-quoters teach me that,” he insists.


Of the 1,400 schools in his two-state


area, Kraft estimates only five clients fit this abuser category. “I don’t fret about percentages that low,” he says. And he’s right. Don’t give tire kickers more value than they’re worth. 


CHECK OUT OUR CLOSING POSTER SET


SELLING TIP Dial in New Business


What do you do when long- time customers suddenly leave their company? Consid- er them new leads. I ask for their new number and then call to thank them for their past business, wish them well, and find out more about their new company. Clients are usually impressed with this follow-up, and I email them updated sales informa- tion. If their job has changed, they’re normally happy to give me a new contact’s name and number. Using this approach, I can make more sales to a new company.


– ADAM E. POIRIER


SELLING POWER AUGUST 2015 | 11 © 2015 SELLING POWER. CALL 1-800-752-7355 FOR REPRINT PERMISSION.


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