Professional buyers are just that — professional.
They got there because of their ability to secure better deals.
I’m not going to fault the work of professional buyers, because they’re doing what they’re charged to do and they do it well.
Just because they’re doing their job well should not mean the salesperson should suddenly turn to pudding and give in.
Here are a few secrets to keep in mind the next time you’re face-to-face with a tough buyer.
First is to remember that a professional buyer, procurement agent or whatever they want to be called is always going to go after the weakest target. Typically they’re charged with securing “x” amount of savings across the line of vendors they work with.
What this means is they will focus on the vendor they think they can take advantage of the most. To you this means as long as you put up a stronger defense than other vendors, the buyers will not go after you with passion.
Second, professional buyers are good poker players.
They may tell you one thing just to see how you respond. When they say they’re going to switch suppliers, keep in mind there is a cost they will incur by switching. Although they might say they’re going to do it, many times that’s the farthest thing from their mind.
Third, they might say what you sell is the same thing as what another company provides, but what you may not know is the buyer has customers on their end that are demanding what you sell.
Again, they can blow smoke at you but they might be doing that merely to see if they can get a quick concession from you.
Fourth, don’t kid yourself if they are playing the role of being your “friend.”
Sure, there are exceptions, but far more often they’re being friends with you only because of what you sell. Ask yourself if you think they would be friends with you if you didn’t sell what it is you sell?
Finally, many times the easiest part of the buyer’s day is meeting with vendors because it’s the one time of the day when they get to be in control of the meeting. For many buyers, their days are filled with internal meetings dealing with a wide number of groups, each with a different set of priorities.
Here’s the deal as I see it: Professional buyers and purchasing departments are merely doing their job.
Nothing wrong with that. Respect them for the service they’re providing to their employer. If you think about it, what they’re doing is nothing more than what we as salespeople are charged with doing.
We both have the responsibility to do the best job we can and that’s something I can take a lot of pride in doing each and everyday.
Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.