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Monday, September 6, 2010

Last One In Wins!

I attended a sales seminar where the presenter and the audience were agreeing that being called in to give a buyer “three bids" was a bad thing, a waste of time.

I musta had a depraved upbringing, because I always found a high percentage of those calls resulted in transactions.

The way I see it, the buying organization has already done some of the work to make a purchase. I figure they want outside  justification that they are doing the right thing. Like when I see a dog turning around three times, I say, “Lie down,” and everyone thinks I am the dog whisperer.

The key is to have a discussion where the buyer further develops her thinking while I am sitting there. I can’t tell her what to think, but I can offer some facts that give her an improved idea of what she wants to buy. At that point, everyone who came before me is no longer qualified to provide the new solution, and the sheer effort of asking for updated responses can become too much effort.

That doesn’t always work, but it happens better than three out of ten.

The best one I ever saw was a mentor who went into a BAFO (Best And Final Offer session…supposed to be a haircut) at $30 million and came out with a contract at $60 million. In the course of being questioned, he mentioned a contiguous technology that would greatly increase the value of what they already wanted.

When they quizzed  him for details he had a page about the technology and a page about how to get the best price, with copies for everyone in the room. Since he was an integrator, he didn’t care whether they did one or both, but rightly figured bigger was better.

When someone finally gets ready to buy something, sometimes the last one in (with a better solution) wins.

Can you give a supporting anecdote?

Our next programs are Wednesday, September 15th, How To Get More Value From Your Existing Resources, Mount Vernon – Lee Chamber of Commerce - Alexandria, Virginia, and Thursday September 16th, Championship Leadership in Resource Constrained Markets, Intelligent Office - Rockville, Maryland. Details and reservations at

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