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Sales Make it Happen

Hidden Issues

You've just delivered a killer proposal to a prospective vendor you desperately want to count as a new customer for you and your company. Your company has offered the vendor special pricing and relaxed credit parameters designed to increase the percentage of his customers who qualify for financing. Your proposal, as far as you know, addresses all of the vendor's needs, and it makes perfect sense.

After you present your proposal, the vendor thanks you for your time and the work you did to develop your proposal and deliver an excellent presentation. He then tells you that his company has decided to remain a customer of their present financing source. Shocked, you thank the vendor for his time, and you make your exit, asking yourself what happened?

First, you should probably revisit your proposal and assure yourself that the deal you offered was indeed as good as you thought. If you are then still convinced that a prudent man in the same situation as the vendor wouldn't think twice about accepting your proposal, you may be the victim of a "Hidden Issue."

Hidden Issues are negative feelings or perceptions about you, your company, your industry, and maybe salespeople in general. It also could be something wholly unrelated to business. The buyer may carry some resentment toward your company for the way he was treated in the past by a former salesperson. Perhaps during a previous time of need your company refused to consider the type of deal you are now proposing, and the vendor is in no mood to forget the past.

A buyer who harbors resentment toward you or your company for past missteps can be tough to deal with. Worse is the buyer whose dislike of you or your company is irrational. During your presentation, for example, you may have reminded the buyer of the uncle that used to embarrass him when he was a child. As the buyer watched you present, and listened to you speak, his identification of you with his uncle made it emotionally impossible for him to want to associate with you! Irrational? Yes. And it happens to salespeople more often than you might guess.

Next week we'll discuss what you might do if you think you are or have been the victim of a Hidden Issue.

--- from the desk of a retired, successful leasing company president.