People who are tactical or people who are strategic?
When we spend time with customers who are tactical, we’re going to be pushed into discussions regarding price.
If our objective is to maximize profit, then we should spend time with customers who think and act strategically. This means we need to be talking with people as far up in an organization as possible.
One of the easiest ways to find out if a prospect you’re dealing with is strategic or tactical is by asking them a strategic-oriented question.
An example might be to ask them what they see are some of the big competitive issues they’re going to face in the next couple of years. Another one might be to ask them how they see their company dealing with the economy or trade issues.
If the person you’re dealing is strategic, they’ll engage you in a discussion.
On the other hand, a tactical person will look at you like a deer in the headlights. I’ve found it’s one of the best ways to determine where a new prospect is coming from.
Asking a strategic question is much better than asking a tactical question. Here’s why. If you ask a strategic-oriented person a tactical question, they may immediately refer you to somebody else in the organization. The person they most likely refer you to is also typically going to be lower down in the company and that means they’ll have less buying authority.
All of this can put you in a tough situation, leaving you stuck to suddenly back pedal quickly for fear of having the meeting with the strategic prospect come to an abrupt end.
The same happens with a tactical person.
If you ask them a strategic question, they may refer you to someone else who will most likely be further up in the organization. If they do, then that’s great, because you’d rather sell to the strategic person anyway.
Knowing where a prospect is coming from can oftentimes result in a significant difference in the profit you ultimately make from a sale.
The choice is yours — would you rather spend time defending your price or spend time adding to your profit?
Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.