Last week, FEI sales leader Zoot taught young salesman Ganymede how to fight prospect loyalty to an existing provider by establishing FEI as the number two choice. This week, the duo discusses another way to do so. Remember, fire = print.
It was a mild, windy day at the dog park, and Ganymede and Zoot were again watching Zoot’s dog Noot run around. Noot was fully exploring the vast park landscape and had almost vanished out of sight.
“He’s pretty far away,” Ganymede observed. “Aren’t you afraid he won’t come back?”
“Absolutely not,” Zoot said. “Watch how loyal he is.” Zoot whistled, and Ganymede watched in amazement as Noot immediately came bounding back.
“That’s loyalty,” Ganymede remarked, clearly impressed.
“Let’s say, again, that you were conniving to take Noot away from me,” Zoot said. “To get in his good graces, you’d demonstrate that you understand and appreciate his loyalty to me. Then, he’ll know he can trust you if I do ever neglect him or let him down.”
“I’m guessing the same principle holds true when pursuing prospects who are loyal to vendors,” Ganymede interjected.
“You betcha,” Zoot said. “Encouraging your prospect to stay loyal to current suppliers may actually help you win their business.”
“I still don’t understand how,” Ganymede confessed.
“Successful customer relationships are built upon trust,” Zoot explained. “Acknowledging your prospect’s history with a current supplier lets him/her know you understand and respect the ingredients of a successful business partnership. It says you value long-term vendor relationships and aren’t just another opportunistic vendor trying to make a sale. Establishing trust in this way will lay the groundwork for you to work together in the future.”
“Now I get it,” Ganymede declared. “Say I approach a prospect who tells me, ‘I’m sorry, but we have a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Flintstones. We’re not looking to change providers any time soon.’ If my reaction indicates resentment, annoyance, or that I’m trying to undermine that relationship, I’ll look petty and perhaps desperate. I’ll also look as if I don’t respect that existing business relationship and just want to get the business any way I can.”
“Indeed,” Zoot said. “Instead, say ‘I can tell strong vendor relationships are important to you. That’s good to hear, because they are to FEI as well. We’ll be here when you’re interested in trying us out.’”
“It doesn’t seem like a good idea to just leave it at that, though,” Ganymede speculated.
“Of course not,” Zoot said. “Next week, we’ll talk about how you can keep FEI on the prospect’s mind without looking you’re trying to ‘lure them away’ from an existing top vendor.”
Ganymede noticed Noot sniffing a female dog. “Oh, look!” he said. “Noot’s in love!”
Zoot rolled his eyes. “There goes his loyalty.”Today’s FIRE! Point
Encouraging your prospects to stay loyal to current suppliers may actually help you win their business. Successful customer relationships are built upon trust; acknowledging a prospect’s history with a current supplier conveys that you understand and respect the ingredients of a successful business partnership. This will help position you and your printing company as a desirable vendor.
FIRE! in Action: Being Second Hasn’t Stopped Avis from Succeeding
The car rental company was founded in 1942, and since then has been a perennial number two in the market to competitor Hertz. Yet Avis’s distinctive marketing—featuring its famous slogan “We Try Harder”—has helped it remain a successful competitor
well into the 21st century. Next week: Zoot and Ganymede discuss a last strategy for going from number two to number one with that hot prospect.