Business Case Scenario: Some time ago two business professionals meet at a local business-2-business networking event. Upon their meeting they realize that one has a product that the other is in the market to purchase. A-HA- a networking event worth going too; a transaction coming from a networking event equals time well spent and instant ROI.
During the interim the small business owner was going full speed ahead with her marketing campaign; resting assured that the timing for the arrival of the needed products she was expecting from this vendor would be fine and in alignment with her project deadline date.
Oh dear vendor, you so lost an order for your company of 25,000-30,000 buttons-just from item #1,
the quote was supposed to be for 15 different items?
Guess By Now you are wondering how did the rep lose that much business?
here’s how not to have a meeting- unprepared
I arrived at the meeting late, because I got lost from my gps and could not get anyone there in the store that could give me directions. They did not recognize that I was down the street from them in the local dinning area to their plaza that was tucked behind and on top of a storefront business. LOL
I get there, we sit down, she pulls out a folder that contained my web site print screens. That was it. Nothing else on the table or in that folder. She began her conversation by saying, “From our lengthy conversation a week back I have been thinking…..” As I listened and she began asking the same questions I had previously answered at our first meeting and then had listed for her during our “Lengthy Conversation” ; I realized she had not prepared for this meeting.
As I began to ask her to show me the items I had previously given her to price out for me; she started to stumble back excusing herself from not being prepared to show me the items I had given her 12 days ago and then again 6 days prior to our meeting.
All I could think about at that moment was OMG My power point presentation date was coming quickly and I don’t have the items to show. I was realizing in that moment I had selected to give someone a chance to do business with me that was not eager to have my business. OH the headache just ignited-
Here’s what that little episode cost me as a small business owner and how mess ups like this are unnecessary. The reason we are not producing anything more than a connection through these various social media outlets and meetings that don’t result in anything is because they have become to casual. Business Lost – Cost us all- Here’s how
small business owners soon become fully aware that Time is not their best friend- it is a precious treasure not to be wasted
The Sales rep had not researched or pulled from warehouse stock any of the items. IN fact they had not even looked at the materials I had directed them to, for design generation of products. While in the show room looking through their displays, I had to find the shelf myself where the buttons were located. “We don’t have them on the shelves right now”, hmmm thats strange I thought. Considering that your industry started out with that key product.
So I keep pressing forward— The Sales rep had been there long enough to have known where the items are for their limited display products. Most products the sales rep said would be in one of their numerous catalogs. Ok, I said, Ms. Sales rep, which of those have you selected to show me today based on my needs list of the 15 items.
Were you able to locate the items I gave you to quote for me? No, says the sales rep. I haven’t checked yet. Figured we would talk about it today and you could tell me the items you are looking for.. How am I supposed to read your mind?”
WHOA you are kidding me right she did not just say that to me after all that I have provided for her?
At that point I knew I should try at best to gracefully get out of there and on to my next meeting. I had given this young lady so much of my materials and lists’ to find the products that would match my campaign. I had an expectation of seeing some of the items we had talked about over the phone and getting quotes for various quantities large and small.
Cost: I lost 12 days and missed my deadline for ordering some of these things for my upcoming presentation. I drove an hour to get to their place because I wanted to give this young professional a chance for my business as she appeared to be interested at the networking event where we first exchanged needs and offerings.
The cost to me the small business owner: time, gas, frustration, missed deadline, risk of loosing future business, a bad taste left behind for this company…
Why?? No apology, no follow up, sent on my way with “not my fault yours” Oh well
If you are going to sale a service or a product to a new client: Know why that client needs your product.
Research your client; more places than just their web site.
Know their sales process and social network. That is their target market.
Learn the industry standard for your business; let it guide you during the process of a sales transaction cycle–
Know what, when, why, where, and how about the customer and their needs.
Know your own product.
If you have a shelf you should know where to find what you have in stock or in catalog.
I have always taught employees to know where you work you may be asked to direct a customer in and to parking. This is customer service folks. Nothing New. And it’s something customers generally expect when going to your place of business for a meeting.
At the end of the day, I realized. This young Gen Y professional needs a good mentor in her professional life . I continued to try and share a few things with her, but at that point- all had been lost. I would give that company a second chance even. IF the proper business etiquette is used to move forward. Let’s see how many days, if at all, before the rep decides to send a follow-up.
What do you do to handle situations like this?
Please share your experience in your comments.