Business Success Newsletter

A resource of the Center for Strategic Relations.

Issue #6 -- February 23, 2001.

Published each Friday and distributed to business professionals just like you, to promote business education and provide top quality information for you to improve your business, career, and self. Subscription information is available at the end of this newsletter. Thank you for reading.

Dear Subscriber:

With snow on the ground, paperwork to be completed, and the phone is quiet, it couldn?t be a better day to hone my sales techniques. This week Brian Jeffrey tells us how to get around a business owners most feared objection ?I'm Happy With My Current Supplier"

I am always talking about continuing the education of your staff, but do you have suppliers or business partners that could learn a thing or two about business. Today, I encourage you to grease the wheels of successful business relations by instead of telling them how to do things differently, recommend they join this newsletter. After a few weeks of reading the information presented sit down and get their opinions on relevant topics provided. This will improve both your business intelligence and your business relationship.

Sincerely for your success,

Justin Hitt
Managing Editor

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Useful Articles

"I'm Happy With My Current Supplier"
              Brian Jeffrey, Week 26, 1997.
You're sure to come across this "objection" if you're the type of salesperson who does cold call prospecting. Standard variations are, "I'm happy with who I buy from now," "I already buy from ABC Company," "We're happy with who we use now," etc.
The good news about getting this response is you know the prospect uses the type of stuff you sell. They're just not buying it from you. Now all we have to do is get them to switch to you or wait until their current supplier bungles a job so you can have a chance to strut your stuff.
By the way, this "objection" is not really and objection but is either a rejection or a statement of fact.
The phrase, "I'm happy with my current supplier", is most likely to be a statement of fact and they don't want to go through the hassle of changing suppliers, at least not without some very good reasons. Keep in mind, if the prospect was unhappy with his current supplier, they'd probably be calling you instead of you having to call them.
It's possible, however, that your opening statement was devoid of any real benefit for the prospect and he/she is simply using the phrase, "I'm happy with current supplier", to "reject" you. Remember, an effective opening must have something of benefit or real value for the prospect or they won't give you the time of day.
Whether the phrase is a rejection or statement of fact doesn't really matter. You need to be prepared to deal with it.
I'm not suggesting that you have a canned response for it but you need to have a planned response. In other words, be like a Boy Scout and Be Prepared with a memorized response that you can modify on the fly whenever your prospect says, "I'm happy with my current supplier."
Here are some ideas that may help. The key is to keep the prospecting talking so you need to continue your approach in a non-threatening manner. In every case you should acknowledge the "objection" and whatever you do, avoid using the words "why" or "but", as this can put them on the defensive. For example, asking the prospect, "Why do you buy from them," can be perceived as a challenge to their decision to buy from the competitor and cause them to defend their decision rather than respond with on open mind.
Prospect: "I'm happy with my current supplier."
SalesPro: "I understand. Every supplier appreciates that kind of loyalty (acknowledgment). What (type, brand, size, etc.) are you buying from them now?
Prospect: "I already buy from ABC Company." 
SalesPro: "I understand. Probably 95% of the people I talk too are satisfied with their current supplier (acknowledgment). How long have you been dealing with them?"
Prospect: "I'm happy with who I buy from now."
SalesPro: "I understand (acknowledgment). What prompted your decision to go with them?"
Prospect: "I'm happy with my current supplier."
SalesPro: "Most people are and I appreciate that (acknowledgment). What prompted the decision to go with them."
Prospect: "We're happy with who we use now."
SalesPro: "That sounds reasonable (acknowledgment). Who are you buying from now?"
Notice that all these responses are intended to keep the prospect talking. Some additional questions you might use are:
"What have they been doing to earn your business?"
"When you chose to go with them you probably switched from someone else. What caused the change?"
"What would you like to get that you don't have now?"
"What would you change in your present situation?"
"Who do you use as a backup supplier?"
"How can I get on your list of alternate suppliers?"
"If there was one areas you like to see improved, what would it be?"
If you're getting reasonable responses, you can use one of the following techniques to get your foot into the door.
Prospect: "I already buy from ABC Company." 
SalesPro: "I understand. Probably 95% of the people I talk too are satisfied with their current supplier (acknowledgment). How long have you been dealing with them?"
Prospect: "Oh, about 4-5 years now."
SalesPro: "Obviously you're happy with their services if you been dealing with them for that long. Here's an idea for you. Why not let me quote on your next requirement? If nothing else, it will confirm that you're getting the best price from ABC. How does that sound?"
Prospect: "I already buy from ABC Company." 
SalesPro: "I understand. Probably 95% of the people I talk too are satisfied with their current supplier (acknowledgment). How long have you been dealing with them?"
Prospect: "Oh, about 4-5 years now."
SalesPro: "Mr. Williams, I'm not asking you to stop buying from ABC. I'm just asking you to consider us as another source for some of the items we can save you money on. That way you'll have the best of both worlds. Does that make sense?
These approaches often make sense to the prospect. He has nothing to lose and it allows you to get your foot into the door. Remember, people aren't going to switch suppliers just because you showed up on their doorstep. Be patient, be persistent, and be there when the primary supplier stumbles and gives you a chance to perform.
Even if these approaches don't always work, you have the satisfaction of knowing you handled the situation in a very professional manner.
© 1997, SalesForce Training & Consulting Inc.
"Brian Jeffrey (a.k.a. The Sales Wizard) is president of SalesForce Training & Consulting Inc.; author of The Sales Wizard's Secrets of Sales Management, a book full of common-sense techniques for managing the small business sales force; and publisher of $alesTalk, a newsletter for professional salespeople. He can be reached at 613-839-7355, fax 613-839-1842, or email:"

Notable Quotation

Communicating "how-to" knowledge from worker to worker is one of the most essential and potentially costly undertakings in any organization. Kathleen Anton, "Effective Intranet Publishing: Getting Critical Knowldege to Any Employee, Anywhere." Intranet Design Magazine.

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