Sales Training Tip #367: Purchasing Departments and the Three Ts

Time. Trust. Tactics. These are the the 3 Ts purchasing departments use to determine how they interact with vendors. When you master an understanding of these, you will see a boost in your sales motivation.

First T is time. Buyers are notorious for using this with vendors in their attempt to get a quick last minute reduction in price to secure an order.  This is one reason I say salespeople have to understand the timelines the buyer is working under before they start negotiating with them. If you don’t know these before hand, then whatever timeline the buyer throws out at you can and will become a major objection you have to overcome. Unfortunately, many times the timelines thrown out to vendors by a buyer are merely artificial and designed only to throw you off track.

Second T is tactics. It ties in directly with the third T, which is trust.  If you look at these together, you’ll see the interaction between both of them.  The more trust a buyer has with you, the less need there is for them to use tactics to negotiate an order.

In the same regard, they’ll use more tactics with those vendors where the level of trust is low.  Now just because there is a high degree of trust between the two parties does not always mean the vendor is going to wind up with a higher price.  No, what this does mean is when there is price, there is the opportunity for the vendor and the buyer to have an open dialogue regarding the real needs and objectives.

The key in this dialogue must start with you — the salesperson — asking the questions.  Just because there is trust between you and the buyer does not mean the buyer is going to offer up information. You still have to ask for it.  The difference is that because you have a level of trust with the buyer, they will be more inclined to share with you information they may not share with another vendor.

The challenge then becomes yours to not only find out additional information, but also to determine how you can use it to achieve a beneficial outcome for both you and the buyer.  If you choose not to use it to the advantage of both parties, but decide instead to use it only to your advantage, then obviously there is going to be an erosion of trust.

Again just as with timelines, trust needs to be nurtured before it is needed.

Copyright 2010, Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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