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Are your prospects REALLY looking for a “local supplier”?

Having been operating in the B2B space for over a decade, we’ve learned a thing or two about buyer behavior. Every so often, one of our suppliers will tell us they’re frustrated with buyer objections to what they have to offer. Maybe it’s “your price is too high” or “your delivery is not quick enough.” Sometimes our suppliers say that these objections feel so challenging that they assume there’s nothing they can do to win their business.

Let’s tackle a common one, shall we?

“I only want to work with a local supplier!” 

Customer A

At face value, this statement sounds pretty clear. They will only “go local,” right? What’s the point in trying to win them over if you are national?This is actually a common mistake in sales! An executive selling system called Sandler preaches this statement: 

“The first problem the prospect brings you is NEVER the real problem.”

Sandler selling system

What does that mean? Plain and simple, it means that your prospects have psychological motivations behind everything they say and do. Consider this: Sandler says that people buy “emotionally” and justify that decision “logically.” In other words, they buy because of a certain feeling caused by the idea of not having the product or service. Once they’ve already made up their mind to buy it, they find “logical” reasons to justify that decision.

Let’s take this example, shall we?  Customer A says that, “I only want to work with a local supplier”. But what if the salesperson asked, “Mr. Customer, why is it that you only want to work with a local supplier?”  Customer A says, “Well. I want to work with someone that can come to the office and I can meet in person.” 

You could stop there, or you could keep asking questions to get to the bottom of their motivation to buy.  For instance, the salesperson could ask, “Well, why do you want to meet with them in person?” Customer A might say, “Well, I can look them in the eye and make sure they don’t screw me over.” 

Let’s stop right there…. “Screw me over?” What is Customer A really saying here? In our experience working with buyers, what they really mean is: “I want to trust who I am working with.”

So, if you are following along, “I only want to work with local suppliers” has become “I want to trust who I am working with.”  That’s the real issue here! The prospect wants and needs trust.

Now your job is to build trust.  How do you do that? Here are a couple of ways:

  • Be honest with your prospect always
  • Create a polished website that has testimonials from customers from all over the country
  • Also provide testimonials from people close to the prospect’s location
  • Ask the prospect “WHY” they are looking for your service (This is crucial!)

Do those things and you will start to find that this issue (“I only want to buy local”) is the wrong issue to work on. Your job as the salesperson is to get to the bottom of their psychological motivation to buy your product or service. Work on building trust and rapport immediately with your prospect so you can convert more sales.

Good luck and remember we’re focused on your success!

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