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A scenario I'm dealing with right now

A customer was pitched on our product (business machines) two months ago and his board of directors told him he couldn't go forward - it is a non profit organization. He decided instead to move one machine from another city against our advice that he not do so.

I got involved two weeks ago taking over the territory from another associate who told me that this guy is a lost cause (wrong attitude IMO). He moved the machine and then found out that he could not hook it up to his computer network. I repitched him on the concept of getting a new machine which would actually reduce his costs quarterly and give him added features, which he agreed he wanted - but the decision wasn't his.

He is now telling me that they would rather buy the part they need to the tune of quite a bit of money rather than get the new technology. The best approach I can figure is to find a way to go over his head to the real decision maker to explain the situation. What is the best way to do that without totally alienating the customer because I'm effectively bypassing him and taking all of his power away.

I also may be taking the wrong stance because I don't understand why they are making the decision they are - it is going to cost them more money in the long run.

Any ideas? - by fitseller
I also may be taking the wrong stance because I don't understand why they are making the decision they are - it is going to cost them more money in the long run.
It's not uncommon for people to try and fix a problem internally before they bring in outside help. Also, the "long run" might be important to you but not a major consideration for the prospect. - by SpeedRacer
Many sales people in your predecessor position, quit selling when they make the presentation to a manager who reports to the board. Instead of letting that person be the default seller, the correct move is to close for the opportunity to make the presentation to the board yourself. This is an advanced skill, as you need to justify the reason why you should be at the board meeting.

In all sales situations, there is no way to gain commitment unless you make the presentation to the ultimate decision maker(s). And, now, in this case, there may be no way to do an end run around the contact you have at this late stage in the game.

The error was not yours but the person you are taking over from, they quit before the job was finished, their initial goal should not have been to get the manager to be their default seller but to have an action plan to get access to the real buyers.

This is a very powerful and important lesson to learn in sales. - by Gold Calling
Gold has really captured the situation: you need to get to the stakeholders.

In my Xerox days, I had a similar situation with a non-profit association. They were beating the hell out of their dilapidated copier and our service group was all over me to get them into a unit better suited to their long runs and high volume.

They'd been down this road before and it always came down to money. The board simply could NOT come up with the funds to swing the change and since they had a maintenance contract, it was viewed as Xerox's problem to resolve!

When I took over the patch, I did some homework on their complete picture and discovered that they were also doing a LOAD of outside printing. I whipped-up a proposal for a 9200 (a massive duplicator)!

Not only did this puppy need its own 9 X 12 room, it generated sufficient revenue to Xerox that it would put me WAY over the top on both comp and President's Club!! Not to mention, it would put me into the good books with our Service Manager!

But, I could NOT make the numbers work.

Well, in another area of the city (still in my patch), I had another non-profit association who were just moving in. They could not afford to acquire a unit with the capacity to cover their needs and they were also doing loads of outside printing.

BINGO: I did a quick intro and sat BOTH of the decision-makers from associations in Xerox's demo room to present the 9200. It cost more than both of their existing copiers but it meant that they would NOT be sending out 90% of the copying to print shops!! AND, they'd both have their existing units as "satellite" copiers to handle their individual walk-up needs. In fact, with the inclusion of a shared headcount (to run the unit), the proposal was an immediate breakeven with overall combined printing costs!

I presented the proposal to their boards and, to minimize disruption, had the unit installed over Christmas ... this also meant that I'd blown away plan in the last month of the year!

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Now that is a story from a real professional salesman.

I hope all that read this thread understand, the end of the road is where you decide it is. If you keep looking for a it, there is a way to BUILD A ROAD when you come to a DEAD END STREET.

Forgive the analogy and keep hunting. - by Gold Calling
How compatable is your equipment to the rest of the company and their intrastructure - by rich34232
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