Every now and then you get a call from a prospect interested in making a large purchase, even though you don’t regularly do business with the practice.
“Hi Joe, this Dr. Stevens, I’m planning on adding a new hygiene operatory and I wanted to find out what you can do for me.”
Seems strange that someone you don’t know and haven’t done business with in the past is suddenly interested in spending tens of thousands of dollars with you rather than their normal supplier, doesn’t it?
Sometimes these are real opportunities, other times, not so much.
There’s usually one of two things going on. Before proceeding make sure you understand the reason they called you in the first place. It’s likely one of the following:
1. They’re keeping their rep honest and checking prices.
This is pretty typical. When it comes to larger purchases, consumers like to make sure they are not overpaying. The easy way to do this is by gathering quotes from a few different vendors. Most prospects intend to buy the solution from their current supplier, even at a slightly higher price, assuming that difference is small.
2. They have a few proposed solutions but they’re not 100% confident in them.
Your prospect has met with a few sales people and talked about what they’re looking to accomplish. The sales people have come back with suggestions, recommendations, and proposals, but for some reason the prospect is not sure any of them have it exactly right. So they reach out to a few more salespeople to get some more input and some more suggestions.
What You Can Do
Navigating through this scenario can be relatively easy with the right approach. When you know they already have a proposal from their “regular” vendor, you want to determine as early as possible how they hope you can help. There are a few ways to do this.
“Doctor, thanks for reaching out to me, I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you. You briefly mentioned on the phone that you are considering a new operatory and that you had a few proposals from other vendors. From my experience, when I get called in this late in the process there’s usually one of two things going on. Sometimes the client already has a pretty good idea of what they’re going to buy, but they want to verify the pricing to make sure they are getting a fair deal. Other times, I find that clients aren’t sure the solution that’s been proposed to them is exactly the right fit and they’d like to look at other options. I’m ok either way, but the more you can share about your expectations at this stage, the better I’ll be able to tell you if I can help.”
Depending on their answer, you can decide where to go next. If they say they want to see if you can beat the price, that’s up to you. Personally, I don’t compete on price, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to take the opportunity to talk about how I create value for my clients. But history tells me that the odds of winning a sale on price are small when the client is someone with whom you have no track record.
However, if they say they are not comfortable with the solutions that have been presented, now you have an opportunity. Follow up with these questions to restart the process and you are well on your way to a new client.
“Doctor, tell me a little bit about what you’re trying to accomplish and what solutions have already been proposed.”
“What specifically do you think these solutions are missing? Why do you think they aren’t going to work or be a good fit?”
When you’re late to the game, you need to change your strategy a bit. And that starts with getting a good understanding of why they’re calling you in this far along in the process.