Are You Dealing with a Professional Shopper?
If you are in sales you have experienced this before, “the professional shopper”. These are people that throughout the sales process have an amazing ability to come up with objections as to why they are not comfortable making a purchase.
It starts with a laundry list of features or requirements that are mission critical to the decision process. You evaluate them and feel comfortable that your product or service can address these requirements so you demonstrate your solution. You begin to check off the requirements one by one.
It’s going well, but before you are through – the requirements list starts to grow. Suddenly, they want to know if you have this feature or that function that they may have seen in another solution. Lo and behold you do, so you continue to invest time in convincing them that you have everything they need.
But remember they are professional shoppers and they are not done with you yet. They have other obstacles to throw at you.
“Your price is too high”
“Your contract needs to be modified”
“Not sure your solution will address some future requirements (which have not yet been identified).”
You begin to feel as if you are playing “whack a mole” and this will continue unless you take control of the process.
How to Take Control
You’ve realized that this deal is just not going to happen, but you have invested a lot of time and your solution is a good fit for this prospect. You don’t want to just give up.
The challenge is that this person or group evaluating your solution does not have the authority to buy. You could be selling the only automobile that flies, but it does not matter if they cannot buy your solution which is why they continue to throw obstacles in front of you. They are paralyzed by their own process. The best path forward is for you to remove yourself from their process.
Be professional and write a letter to the evaluator(s) and to management suggesting that you reviewed all their requirements and demonstrated your company’s ability to effectively address every one of them. Document each requirement and the solution so that they are in full agreement. They already know this, but by putting it in writing you have essentially asked the management why they have not made a decision.
The letter will generate one of three responses.
Response #1: They have other decision criteria that you and the evaluator(s) were not aware of.
Response #2: Other priorities have come up, placing this one on the back burner.
Response #3: They have a strong interest in your solution and will be in touch in the near term.
At this point you are not investing any more time and got them to agree that you have the right solution for their business. Hopefully they will be back in touch in the weeks ahead.