Monday 23 February 2015

Advice to a salesman

When someone phones you up with the possibility of a big order of hard drives, and asks you to give your best price, you should do exactly that.

If you want to play silly games, you might give a price for half that order, and a somewhat higher price for the other half of that order, explaining that it'll be necessary to get them in at a higher price.

"And that's your best price?" I asked. It was, said Mr Salesman. "Sorry, then," I said, "no deal" and I decided to go to another vendor, who had quoted me a price lower than either of Mr Salesman's.

"What's your target price?" asked Mr Salesman. So I told him; it was a few percent lower than his lowest price - it was the price I got from the other vendor. Margins in this area are wafer thin, so a few percent is a lot. "Let me see what I can do," he said. "No, please don't," I replied, "there's no point, I already had your best price." And we parted.

So then I called the other vendor, and placed the order.

And then I got a phone call from Mr Salesman, offering me a slightly lower price than the price I'd just bought at. And I had to explain to him, "No deal, I already placed the order"

If he hadn't pretended that his previous price was his best price, and that I was lucky to get half of them at that price because the other half would cost even more ... if he hadn't played this game ... then he'd had got the order.

So here's my advice to sales people. Be honest. If you say that a price is your best price, then you should mean it, and if you don't mean it, don't say it. Because I don't want to be messing about with several phone calls to multiple vendors conducting a kind of backwards auction. But more importantly, I have a psychological problem (and there's probably a name for it) whereby I believe what people tell me. So when you told me "This is my best price", I took it as being true, and based my decisions on that.

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