They say that ‘love is blind’ and when two people are totally in love then they do not pay attention to one another’s faults. Often, over time, the initial passion begins to wear off and they start to notice things that annoy them – like squeezing the toothpaste from the middle of the tube or leaving their socks lying around!
The relationship between supplier and buyer often works like that. If you are faced with prospect that says they are ‘happy with their supplier’ then how do you woo them away? Just like with love, there are normally plenty of fish in the sea but that does not help if you really want THAT fish!
Happy is part of what I call the ‘warm and fuzzy’ of selling. If your prospect has that kind of relationship then it will take more than just banging on about features and benefits to win them over.
It may be a tall order for them to walk out on their existing supplier but if the relationship has gone beyond the early stages then they may be open to ‘having a fling’!
Your opportunity for this to happen is to remind them of their supplier’s faults rather than focusing their attention on what they really love about their existing supplier. The paradox is that if you were to ask what they do not like about their current supplier then they would probably claim that everything is rosy in the garden!
So the trick is to start with what they like before asking what they do not like. I would ask something like:
‘Could I ask you what you like best about your current supplier that makes you happy with them?’
Their response will give you some very important information. Make a mental note as this will be something you will need to be able to demonstrate at some point in the future to appear attractive to your buyer.
I would follow up the question with ‘What else do you like best?’ so I end up with the top 3 reasons.
Once this has been done then you can ask the question you REALLY want to ask:
‘Well that’s really good to hear, do you mind me asking….if there was one area they could improve on….what would that be?’
If they come back with ‘I cannot think of anything’ then you know you have a waiting game until the supplier inevitably messes up in some way in the future. It’s a case of keeping in touch and looking for problems the existing supplier is not solving.
However, if they come back with something they think their existing supplier could improve upon then it has highlighted a potential chink in your competition’s armour. You may want to ask a follow-up question to get them to clarify and give examples.
It may take them a while before they are ready to ‘have a fling’ but by asking these questions you will know what they will be looking for when they do.