Playoff Hockey and Objections
Are you a fan of playoff hockey? This time a year is unique for me. Ordinarily, if I'm watching a sporting event it's because a Boston team is involved. If they're not playing, I'm not watching. Playoff hockey, however, is different. It's wall-to-wall action at a frenetic pace.
What’s unique about playoff hockey is this: at the end of every series, two teams who have been beating the snot out of each other line up and shake hands. No other sport carries this tradition. It's not life or death, it's just hockey. It's just a game. They are your competitors but not your enemies.
Printers have friendly competitors but for the most part, there's not a lot of interaction. Often times, the most we hear about them is where the prospect says, "We already have a vendor." The conversation that follows can yield some valuable information. But let's talk about that objection …
"We already have a vendor" are typically words that can stop a sales rep cold. It's not that they are a surprise — we hear them all the time and duh, no kidding they already have a vendor — it's just that they are spoken with such conviction that it seems we've hit a dead end. Yet, according to Wikipedia:
"An objection is a request for more information."
The No. 1 reason we lose an account is because the client thinks we stop working for them. If that's the case, that objection is overcome when we talk to the customer about the fact that their current vendor has probably not brought them new ideas in quite a while. The next time you run up against that objection, here are some words for you:
"I'm happy to hear that you've got a vendor and you feel satisfied with their work. Tell me, when is the last time they challenged the status quo and brought you a different solution? If they are producing jobs at a fair price and in reasonable time frames, they are a good vendor. But a great vendor is one who brings new options instead of just expecting the reorder. Why not let me come in and provide some new ideas? It doesn't cost anything and hey, you don't know what you don't know. I might have a better way of solving your business needs."
Perhaps as the old vendor is being thrown out and you are replacing them, you will have a chance to walk by each other. If that happens, don't forget to stick your hand out and say, "Good game."
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