Have you been victimized by a Sample Bandit lately? Sample bandits are the prospects that are always asking for demonstrations, samples and quotes yet never buy from you. The important thing to remember is: you cannot be victimized by these bandits if you are not a willing participant. You can control who wastes your time and who doesn´t.
Not every request for a quote, sample and demonstration will result in a sale. On the other hand, not everyone is a sample bandit. How do you figure out who is wasting your time and who isn´t?
The secret is in your ability to qualify the prospect.
There are several issues that need to be qualified before you agree to generate a quote, sample, etc. When you consider how much time it takes you to generate a quote, send a sample or give a demonstration and multiply this time by the number that did not result in business, you will be amazed at how much time you have wasted over the period of a year. Giving samples, generating quotes and providing demonstrations are not bad for business, just only do this for qualified prospects and not with everyone you meet. Time is a precious commodity. The more time you spend with qualified prospects, the more you can expect to sell and earn.
What qualifies a prospect to receive a sample, quote and/or demonstration?
- Timing—You have heard the famous expression that timing is everything in life. It is so true in sales. No matter how good your product/service is, even if the price is great, if the timing is not right, the sale is not happening.
Sometimes, pricing or a good argument can nudge the time frame up a little bit. Find out when the sale is expected to happen. If the deal is not expected to happen for a couple of months, wait to generate a quote.
If you feel there is a chance to motivate the buyer to do the dealer sooner, make sure your value proposition is strong enough to motivate the change in timing.
- Disqualification— Often customers will use your samples, quotes and demonstrations as a method of disqualification. Make sure your samples, quotes and demonstrations are being used for the right purposes and not as a tactic for knocking you out of the game.
- Justification—Customers will sometimes request quotes from a certain number of vendors just to show they have looked at several choices, even when they know who they want to work with. Don´t allow yourself to be a justification! Some sales execs go forward in the belief that any quote allows them to get a foot in the door. You get a foot in the door by doing the right qualification and needs analysis followed by a strong value proposition. The concept of handing in quotes, samples and doing demonstrations does very little to strengthen your position without a properly qualified customer.
- Positioning—Many sales execs go out of their way to time their presentation. They try to be the last demonstration so they can have the final word and last source of impact. This is a good strategy. However, you still need to do the proper due diligence to succeed in your positioning.
- Numbers Game—-Some sales reps act like a high speed quote and sample machine because they are followers of the old maxim that sales is a numbers game. Sales is a numbers game—-the more qualified accounts you deal with, the more sales you will generate. Quotes and samples do not constitute a justifiable numbers strategy without the proper due diligence.
If a customer does not have a qualified situation that will justify your investment of time and resources, move on to the next prospect. Every minute and dollar you spend is not retrievable, once spent it is lost forever. Only you have control over your time and money. Don´t let anyone else spend it. Protect it and only give it to the people who deserve it. Self discipline in this area is crucial to your sales success. Otherwise, the Sample Bandits are waiting and will pounce on you the moment you show up. They will bleed you of all the time and money you have.
It’s time to say “NO” to the Sample Bandits!!!