Early in the year I stated that 2018 started out poorly, had a very good February and a so so March. It's only April 3rd and I'm already feeling the squeeze even with 14 selling days selling days left in the month. After years and years of having the month close early. The thought of it being only April 3rd and fourteen selling days left can mess with your sales psyche.
A few weeks ago I'm in as a referral for a net new account. It's rather large with two color A3 copiers, three hi speed mono copiers, and a couple of other pieces of hardware. There are four players in the field including the incumbent. Over years I've found the hardest deals to crack are those deals where the client is satisfied with the incumbents level of service. That was the case with this net new account. During the discovery process, I determined that this was going to be a price buyer. Thus I position my financials to give me the best shot at this $75K opportunity. I presented our case about a week ago, and I asked the DM where we sat compared with the other three vendors. I was told that all four quotes are within one hundred dollars per month! I just found that amazing since I knew the pricing I gave was extremely competitive. The account ended up staying with the incumbent because they were satisfied with the support, the brand and the level of service. I can't blame em, I appreciate those accounts that do the same for me. I was just amazed with all four vendors being so close.
Another appointment for a net new account came last week. Within 48 hours after meeting with the client they had made their decision. There was a flurry of re-quoting because that client kept coming back asking to add this and that. I knew I was cooked when the adding of this accessory and that accessory took me to re-quoting. I knew that some vendor was offering a sweet deal with all the options. The client wanted to make sure they were comparing apples to apples, thus asking for the re-quotes. Plain and simple I did not have position or leverage because of the brand of the existing device. Another one bites the dust.
Yesterday, I'm with an existing account for multiple placements. We've had the account for fifteen years. During the discovery process I caught the statement that they'll also be receiving additional quotes. I then fell back to the value points that they've been happy with the brand, the service and the support right? The answer was yes and I then asked why the need to get additional quotes? My answer was, "we'd like to know what else is out there". I left it at that because I know that they've been very satisfied with our services over the years. Even though they will go out and get additional quotes I know we're in a good position because changing vendors means RISK. RISK is the unknown when it comes to service, and support. With this account, I just need to stay the course and let the ball travel.
In my recent Sunday night newsletters I've referenced March Madness in the copier industry. The end of March marks the year end for most if not all of the copier manufacturers. Dealers are offered special buy-in prices before the end of the year and in many cases those special prices find their way down to the end user. The same is true with Direct, maybe not as much with the pricing but the end of year to pile on any an all sales to drive the year end numbers.
Am I a fan of March? HELL NO! It's still cold, it's still snowing or raining. I'm one happy camper now that March is over and looking forward to a great spring, summer and fall.