Topic: Customer Behavior

Prospects Go Cold, Then Choose Another Vendor?

Posted by Ryan on 125 Points
Hi All,

I'm new here. In my business, prospects contact me for a sales meeting and then if they like what they hear, we move to providing a cost proposal. Typically what we are finding is that the sales call goes swimmingly, and the prospect loves what they hear. They tell us we are a TOP contender. We provide a cost proposal, and learn we are apparently still a TOP contender but they have to review other competitors as a formality. This is where it gets frustrating. The prospect goes COLD after several follow ups. Then after about 6-8 months we find out they choose a different company for the project. We are always stunned by this as all went well then after no communication we find out they choose someone else.

Could anyone help figure out what we are doing wrong or what we can do to have a better chance of this NOT happening to us?

Thanks a million.
To continue reading this question and the solution, sign up ... it's free!


  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    It sounds like your cost/value proposal isn't as strong to their needs as your competition's. If you were to honestly look at your competition's offering, how does it stack up (a SWOT analysis would be useful here)? A lack of communication is a telling sign. Perhaps instead of showing up with a sales meeting, you'd better be served by showing up for an informational interview with your prospect. Stop selling, and start asking questions about their needs, their process, their past problems, and their decision-making. Only then can you sell the right benefits with the right value proposition to them. And if your competition can better serve your prospect, consider giving them the sale. That single action will speak volumes about your integrity.
  • Posted by Ryan on Author
    Thank you for the fast feedback. We do a lot of question asking about their needs, however less about their decision making process. There is usually a final decision maker we don't get to speak with. Is your suggestion here to ask for an in person meeting? Typically we do and they are only interested in web meetings etc.

    Would you say it is also fair to ask their budget for the service?

    Thank you!

  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    The situation you describe is actually more familiar than you might imagine. Prospective vendors walk out of the meeting feeling like they nailed it, only to see their prospects vaporize once all the proposals are in.

    It's possible your audience at the initial meeting is not communicating the reasons for their enthusiasm (for you) to the decision-maker. So the decision-maker is basically comparing alternatives that look similar (except possibly for price). If that's the case you either need to request a face-to-face meeting with the decision-maker or coach your inside champion to represent you more effectively.

    It's also possible you are selling "what you have" instead of what the customer really wants and needs. It's not uncommon for the folks at an initial meeting to fall in love with what you tell them you can do, only to have the decision-maker force them to define the ultimate objective and then ask which proposal meets that objective at the lowest cost. All your nice-to-have extras that got everyone so excited suddenly become irrelevant.

    The best way to find out what the problem is could be to ask someone at the company if they would be willing to talk with an outside research professional about their image of your company, and then have that researcher analyze responses from several interviews and lay the answer at your feet. (We've done this for clients a few times, and the results have been really eye-opening!)
  • Posted by Ryan on Author
    Great responses. Thank you!

Post a Comment