Your Gut Has a Question for You
You have the opportunity to do business with an account of some significance (and I will let you define what that means in terms of sales volume). It might be a well-known brand, perhaps a large company in the area. Either way, everyone would agree it’s a gem and highly desirable.
You’ve checked out their website. It’s not exactly up-to-date, but that’s not a big deal you tell yourself. You know what they do.
An open RFQ went out, signaling dissatisfaction with their current vendor. That’s all that matters to you. This account is up for grabs!
Responding to the RFQ involved a face-to-face meeting. The client canceled once at the last minute, leaving you in the lobby. No problem. Stuff happens. It was easy to reschedule and despite the fact the meeting started 45 minutes late and lasted only 15, you got the information you needed.
Next step, respond to the RFQ.
But there is an important question to ask: Are you listening to your gut? Let’s back up …
You got the information you needed, all right, but are you truly examining that information with a clear understanding of what it’s telling you or are you blinded by the prospect of reeling in this big account? You know what they do and you certainly understand the scope of the RFQ, but what about the non sequitur? That is, have you noticed a not insignificant amount of minor issues that, taken individually, mean nothing but examined at as a whole are causing you to have a funny feeling about the whole situation? Allow me to interpret what your gut is telling you:
“This might not be a good customer for you.”
- Dated website. Interpretation: No regard for marketing.
- Last-minute appointment cancellation. Interpretation: No regard for your time.
- Dismissal of existing vendor. Interpretation: Unknown. What’s the story there?
Do not be blinded by the sexy account. Some companies (and for some reason, they are usually large, well-known brands) have an attitude of: “If you don’t want to do business with us, that’s fine. There is someone right behind you does.”
Malcolm Gladwell used the phrase, “thin-slicing,” in his book Blink to describe the process of making an assessment while keeping a finger on the pulse of intuition. You would be wise to heed his advice and pay attention to the fact that gathering information includes hard facts and a gut feeling.
Interpretation: Listen to your gut.
Bill Farquharson is a sales trainer for the graphic arts. Email him at Bill@AspireFor.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault are available at BillFarquharson.com.