Here are some examples of common Buyer questions or comments. As they are common, you should be able to respond to them immediately and confidently i.e. they shouldn’t take you by surprise. And so, your responses should come across naturally.
However, as many are challenging, our responses can often lack confidence and even sound defensive, a sure way to lose ground with the Buyer. To overcome that tendency, simply practice these recommended responses.
Notice that they are quite short. That’s deliberate. Keep the buyer talking and overcome the tendency (that we all have) to babble and say too much when we get wrong-footed by a comment. Remember that your general attitude should be one of curiosity. For example, instead of reacting defensively to a negative comment, simply ask the Buyer, in a curious rather than challenging tone, why s/he holds their view.
Hand this sheet to another person and have them fire questions at you in no order. The idea is that with repetition, the responses will stick in your memory, so you can deliver them rote, naturally and without thinking. Rinse and repeat until you have all responses down pat.
You can then go on to practice responding to the response. That is, have your partner respond to your comment and then you respond to that.
We don’t have the budget this year.
OK, I understand. What is your budget process?
We need to go to tender (open bid).
What is your process to do that?
Your price is too high.
What makes you say that?
Can you match theses prices?
I don’t know. It’s never been my goal to match prices. What I can do though is commit to being the best value and if I can’t do that then I won’t bid at all.
We prefer your competitor’s product.
Thank you for telling me that; what do you prefer about it?
This isn’t a priority for us right now.
Thank you for letting me know; what are your current priorities?
It’s been a really busy couple of weeks.
If you mean unusually so, I hope it’s been in a good way.
I won’t have time to work on this for a few a weeks, as I’ve only got this week before I go on leave.
Well that sounds good; are you going away?
Can you send me a quote please for three Model A’s.
Can you tell me about your application please.
Why do you need to know that? Can’t you just give me a quote?
I have a duty of care and like to know that I’m quoting the right thing. For example, I’m often asked to quote something and there’s a better or newer option the buyer didn’t know about.
I’m not sure of the time frame on this.
What is the process from here?
I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to do much on this since we last spoke, as I’ve been on leave for a few weeks and am still playing catch up.
I understand what that’s like. How was your holiday? Did you get to go away?
We hope to make a decision by the end of August (it is now mid-May).
What is your process to arrive at a decision?
I’m concerned about what might be involved for us in implementing your solution.
What are your concerns?
Right now, we’re going through a bit of a reorganisation, so I don’t know who will end up handling this.
What has prompted the reorganisation?
Your company is too big to care about us.
What makes you say that?
I need more flexibility you have too many rules.
What type of flexibility would you like?
I can’t control what my people do (when someone in the buyer’s organization has done something that impacts you).
What can we do to avoid this happening again?
I’m really not interested.
I understand, and I certainly don’t want to waste your time being of no value. What would be of value to you?
I get excellent service from my current supplier.
That’s great What is that they do that you particularly appreciate?
Why should I buy from you?
That’s a really good question (name). Why would you buy from me?
You don’t understand our business
You’re right. Can I ask you to help me with that? What do you think I should know?
The Board has told us to test the market.
I understand. How will you do that?
Sorry, the decision is out of my control.
Thank you for letting me know. How will the decision be made?
It’s just too hard to… (something you can’t easily or quickly fix e.g. telephone delays, stock shortages)
I can appreciate how frustrating that is. We’re working on it, but to be frank it won’t be a quick fix. So, in the meantime, how about you and I explore some options to minimize how that impacts you?
I need someone who is really pro-active.
What would that look like to you?
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