Let me take a recent A4 sale that I secured. The account was an incumbent, and excellent service and support was issued through out the last three years. However, this account (small account) always wants to check pricing (think of all the time they would save if they did not get additional quotes and focused on their core business) from other vendors. After many phone calls and a visit to the account I was able to keep the business for another three years. But this time, I asked for copies of the quotes that he had received from other vendors. Some people tend to be a little wishy washy about this and not give them to you and then others will hand them over without a second thought. Believe it or not I still get a rush when a customer gives me the quotes from the other vendors. Hey, if you're really in this business to stay you need to see all of the quotes and proposals you can even if they are not from a direct competitor. There's a lot to learn from each and every one of them.
For example, I noticed on my competitors proposal these points:
- They close their business on the last business day of the month. Which is good me because I close a week early so I'm looking to clean up outstanding proposals a week ahead of them.
- They quoted the price on the box and a few stand out features however they did not explain how those features would increase productivity, improve business process or save money. In this case I was up against a Canon and that Canon model brings better value to the table than the system I sold. I understand that the rep may have stated that, but you need to reinforce that on the quote/proposal it's the age old rule of "outta sight and outta mind" that's some Jersey slang for ya.
- They bill per month for service and supplies and that's a real drag to the customer that has to process 12 invoices per year. I only have to process well a lot less than that.
- They made mention that scans are FREE, which tells me that they may come back and charge for scans in the future, thus I'll put this in the memory banks and if I know they are a competitor in the future, I'll bring up the point of FREE scans. My question to the customer would go something like this "yes, I agree that XYZ corp is giving away FREE scans, however how long is that for and if they decided to charge you in the future what would the cost be?, we make no mention of scans because we don't bill for scans".
- In the proposal they do not remind the customer of the "value" of service, they gave a price per page, what it included, what it did not include. This goes back to adding additional bullet points about what makes your service special and unique.