Salespeople – Eyes Closed, Ears Plugged?

Is the sales person calling on you paying attention to who you are and what you need? 

I had an interesting experience recently – one of our long time customers contacted me to let me know they had received a “free quote” from one of our competitors. The quote was “considerably less” than what we charge, which didn’t really surprise me, because there’s always someone cheaper out there.
 
Our customer, having been a long-standing partner with us, was a little perplexed by how cheap the price was and asked if I could come by to look it over and share my thoughts with her. When I stopped by, she showed me the quote. Enclosed were several items including attractive glossy marketing material, proposed job specifications, and their pricing structure. 
We reviewed the contents closely and discovered that neither the job specifications they were offering nor the confusing pricing structure were applicable to the details of her office. On the surface it appeared to be less expensive, but in digging deeper we discovered that for the services she needed – which we provide – the cost would actually be about the same over a one year period.

 As we discussed further details of the proposal and the nature of the visit by this vendor, she realized that the sales call and subsequent proposal were first and foremost about the vendor landing another job – not about getting to know her or understanding her needs as a customer.

Two gentlemen showed up in suits and ties, promised two permanent staff members to clean her small office, which for 15 years has been a one person job; promised a supervisor to be on-site for every clean – totally unnecessary and cost prohibitive, therefore quite unlikely to actually happen; and when she asked for some references they shared with her their largest billable accounts (dollar value included). These references were nowhere near her profile in size, dollar amount, frequency, geography, and job type or specifications. But their proposal was glossy, chalked full of “stuff” and their price was “cheaper”.
At some point we all fall into the trap that cheaper sounds better, but taking the time to consider the many details and intangibles that go into partnering with the right vendor will help us to slow down and take a more thoughtful approach.
We are inundated with sales professionals day in and day out. Why is it that so few actually take the time to pay attention to who we are and what our specific needs may be? Make sure your prospective partner knows who you are and what you need before being hooked by price!
Here’s to quality partnering!
Mike