Never Ask These Two Questions To Disrupt Your Competitor Vendor Relationship

When someone tells you they’re happy with their current vendor, how do you respond?

If you’re like many salespeople, you’re tempted to one of these two questions:

1.“What is it that you like about your vendor?”
2.“What is it that you don’t like about your vendor?”

While it may seem natural to ask those questions, they’re actually very dangerous. Why? Because there’s a good chance your prospect’s response to the first query is only going to reinforce their positive feelings for their vendor and their commitment to stay with the supplier.

When you ask a prospect what they don’t like about their vendor, you’re making an assumption that they’re unhappy with their current relationship. But, what if your prospect is perfectly content with their vendor? By supposing your client is dissatisfied with their supplier, you run the risk of offending your prospect and alienating the person based on an assumption that simply isn’t true.

Is there a better way to approach a prospect? …YES.

Ask the Right Questions to Get Actionable Answers

Instead of making the conversation about someone’s current supplier, which can be intrusive, create a more neutral conversation by asking about the qualities and attributes your prospect looks for in any vendor, not just the one they’re currently working with.

This line of inquiry doesn’t put you in a head-to-head comparison with your prospect’s current supplier, which you’re likely to lose. Instead, it gives you the chance to learn valuable feedback that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, feedback you can use to position yourself as the preferred supplier.

When you ask a prospect about the qualities and attributes they want their vendors to have, you’ll probably hear things like:

  • Quality
  • Service
  • Integrity
  • Responsiveness
  • Value
  • Price

In other words, you’ll learn the specific criteria and characteristics that are most important to your client while remaining impartial.

Put simply, you’ll have started a conversation to better understand what your prospective customer values in a vendor relationship, a conversation that’s meaningful and memorable to you and, more importantly, your prospect.

Driving Value in the Sales Conversation

The bottom line is: Don’t try to sell value until you understand what your customer actually values. Asking the right questions gives you the leverage to position yourself as the supplier of choice.

Want more ideas to disrupt competitor vendor relationships? Watch this web seminar:  Webinar: Three Ways to Knock Out Competitor Relationships now.

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Paul Cherry

For over two decades, sales expert and author PAUL CHERRY has helped B2B sales professionals close more deals in all major industries. As a recognized thought leader in customer engagement strategies, Paul Cherry has been featured in more than 250 publications, including Investor’s Business Daily, Selling Power, Inc., Sales & Marketing Management, The Kiplinger Letter, and Salesforce.

Performance Based Results

Paul Cherry is the president of Performance Based Results. PBR delivers intense, customized sales team training programs and sales management coaching to companies throughout North America. Paul has worked with more than 1,200 organizations, including 175 of the Fortune 500, plus more than a thousand entrepreneurial, small to mid-sized, cutting-edge businesses looking to dominate their niche markets. Clients typically get 7 times their return-on-investment (ROI) or better.

Questions That Sell

Paul Cherry’s top-rated bestseller, Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants (AMACOM) has been listed on BookAuthority’s “100 Best Sales Books of All Time” and has been published in four languages. He is also the author of Questions That Get Results (Wiley) and The Ultimate Sales Pro (HarperCollins Leadership).