We have all heard the startling statistics: it takes 3 times (or more) energy and effort to find a new customer vs. retaining the customer in front of us. I have heard and personally experienced that there are costs to the customer and supplier by taking on a relationship that was never intended to be a partnership long term. In other words, when we are desperate for business, as a customer or supplier, there can be bad consequences. I know firsthand from my years in sales that there is occasionally going to be the person, customer, or account that is over demanding, drains my time, energy, and although it was good to make the sale, the cost of the relationship far outweighed the value of the sale. On the same token, as a customer, I have also made the mistake of making a partnership with a vendor or supplier and later regretted it. The cost was similarly too much of my time, money, or angst spent in the end. If it was a ‘good deal,’ in the beginning, it forced me to wish I would have never agreed to go with the person.
I recently resolved myself and my business to follow these 4 steps in selecting whom I work with: ‘The 4 D’s to Avoid:’
- Dishonesty – If someone, whether it is a company, person, supplier, consultant or vendor is not honest in the sales process early, how confident can I be that they will not be dishonest later? As it has been said ‘one lie often leads to another.’ Dishonesty damages trust in the relationship and any credibility.
- Disrespect – We all have good and bad days personally and professionally. The key is to not take it out on a customer or supplier. Strong language or an overall demeanor that the other party does not respect me, my time, or my efforts is enough of a red flag for me to walk away from the other party.
- Doesn’t see value – One of the best ways to see that the customer or supplier doesn’t see value in what we offer is a constant focus and reluctance based on price alone. Although price is important, when the other party constantly questions and mocks a price, instead of asking to negotiate, chances are they don’t see the value you are bringing and probably never will.
- Desperation – I have received calls from customers early in my sales career desperate to make a quick change in their supplier, vendor or solution. I was naïve thinking, ‘wow this is great-a quick sale!’ What happened is that rarely did this lead to a victory and most of the time the other party wasn’t serious about making a change-they were just upset over the other vendor or supplier. I learned to treat every opportunity as a new opportunity and qualify it, even if the customer seems ‘desperate.’
My goal is for you, whether you are the supplier or customer to save your time, money, and drama with the tips above. When all else fails, do a quick ‘gut check’ and if your intuition is telling you to walk or run, listen!
Amy Lemire DTM
Author of Best Seller “From Zero to Sales Hero: How to Double Your Sales and Income in 90 Days” and ‘From Zero to Speaker Hero: How to Achieve Fame, Fun, and Fortune as a Speaker.