The Innocent Sounding Question that Spells Danger
Can you imagine a buying decision being made after a two-word question?
There’s one question that can make or break the decision to place work. Most salespeople don’t realize the effect that their answer to this question can have. After all, the question sounds innocent enough. It’s almost as if the buyer is just making conversation.
So what’s the question?
I simply ask, “How’s business?”
It may not seem a question that you should have to worry about. But print salespeople who give the wrong answer can risk losing the chance of the next job instantly. They can also risk being beaten down on price.
It’s amazing how much a buyer can learn when they ask this question.
I am always surprised at how much information printers give away when they answer it.
I asked one printer, “How’s business” recently. The printer immediately responded with, “Not good.” That’s a response that always sets me on my guard. Is the printer about to go under? Should I be placing work there? Or making alternative plans for the work that I do have there?
Of course, for many buyers that sort of reply also tells them that they might get a bargain. If the printer’s presses are quiet, a buyer may be able to get a rock-bottom price.
With just two words, this printer puts itself in a really bad position with the buyer.
The question may have sounded innocent. However, a good salesperson would have answered it with caution.
When I tell this story, some print salespeople don’t see it like this.
Why should I worry? My business is fine.
The trouble is, telling a buyer how busy you are can cause just as many problems. Now the buyer may be cautious about whether they’ll have a job delivered on time.
Many printing companies are frustrated how hard it is to engage buyers in today’s world. That’s where Matthew Parker can help. He is a gamekeeper turned poacher. Parker has bought print for more than 20 years and received over 1,400 print sales pitches. He now uses his buyer’s point of view to give practical advice to printers. He helps them engage with prospects and customers to create profitable relationships.
Download his free e-book, "Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them" and check out his recently launched book, "How To Succeed At Print Sales: Setting targets, planning the right activities and making sure goals are met."