When a Customer Looks At You As Just a Vendor

John, a good friend, asked me to sit in on a presentation he was making to a company to sell his medical support services. The presentation was to be made to a vice president, who was the decision maker and three staff who would be using the services. I was there to offer some value by way of personal knowledge of the service. But mostly, I was observing because John didn’t have a good feeling about the sales call.

He had met alone with the V.P. two times before but he never felt like he was connecting with her. He said he always felt rushed in their meetings. And, she was always taking phone calls even though she said she had asked for her calls to be held.

I had a pretty good idea what was going wrong but agreed to go to the presentation.

The V.P. arrived 10 minutes later and whooshed into the room with a flourish. I half expected trumpets to announce her arrival. It was obvious this was a person with a very high opinion of herself. She proceeded to tell us she needed to return one call on her Blackberry. Walking into the corner of the conference room she made the call. It was personal and concerned meeting for lunch later.

Not a good way to start the meeting.

John made his presentation and I watched and listened. The staff were engaged and excited. The V.P. knew what was coming because she had insisted on reviewing the presentation before it was given to her staff.

I only got engaged when I realized a question that was asked by one of the staff had never been fully answered. Even though it had nothing to do with John’s service, I answered it and offered to follow-up with some information that I would send to her later. Thirty-five minutes after the V.P. had arrived she announced she had another meeting and she would "talk" with her staff and would get back to us.

End of meeting.

Walking out of the building, John asked, “What did you think?” I said, “You’re dead!”

John had never established a relationship with the V.P. And, I had serious doubts she was the decision maker. She looked at John as just another “vendor.” She was rude and unprofessional and the presentation should never have happened. When John realized he didn’t really have a relationship, he either should have turned the account over to someone who might be able to establish one or he could have tried to start again from square one himself.

Somewhere back when they were first introduced John should have worked on the relationship with this person. She didn’t see him as an equal who could add value to her company but as someone trying to sell her something. He should have verified that she actually made the decision to buy instead of just taking her word. I could tell that this was something her staff really wanted but that she was just catering to them with no intention of buying – at least from John.

Turns out I was right. John got a letter (Dear John?) letting him know that they had decided not to do anything right now due to budget restraints. Or, some kind of weasel words like those.

John got a call a few months later from one of the staff who had attended the meeting. Turns out the V.P. had moved on and she was now in charge. She wanted to reopen discussions with John. She had been the most engaged person in the room and the person to whom I followed-up with information after the meeting. A couple of months later, John got a six-figure contract. However, it was only after the new boss introduced him to the V.P. of Operations who actually controlled the budget for John’s type of service.

John told me that the most important takeaway he got from this experience was to never again allow anyone to treat him as just a vendor. He said he’ll always make sure to build a relationship so that he’s perceived as someone who can bring value and improve the client’s company before ever moving forward in the sales process.

Sounds perfect to me.

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People do business with people that they know, like, and trust. Since we can’t pick or choose the “type” of person we are most likely to trust and like right away, we need to learn how to effectively with everyone’s personality style.” Learn how in this report and start increasing your sales right away!

Selling To The Four Personality Types

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