This is the 12th post in my series of top 15 sales tactics.  
 
When you talk to a decision-maker who is the buying mode of Status Quo – happy with their current vendor and not looking to change any time soon – they’ll often say something like: 

  1. “We’re all set” 
  2. “I’m not interested” 
  3. “We’re happy with our current vendor” 

Just because someone says a variation of “no” or “I’m not interested” it doesn’t mean they’ll never buy from you. It just means ‘not now’ or ‘not today.’ 
 
I can pretty much guarantee that a Trigger Event will happen in the future that will turn them into a hot prospect make them highly likely switch vendors. 
 
So, the next time you hear any variation of “not now” or “not today”, I suggest asking,

Has that vendor ever let you down?

If They Say “YES” 

If the prospect says yes, ask about the impact of the failure.  
 
If the pain was considerable, follow up with these three questions: 

  1. “How long did they take to fix it?”
  2. What have they done to prevent this from happening again?”
  3. “What have they done to minimize the impact if it does happen again?” 

With any luck, the decision-maker will be left scratching their heads, as they realize their vendor hasn’t really done any damage control. You’ve now created dissatisfaction — and a sales opening. 

If They Say “NO” 

If they say no consider this as a follow-up question

Pretend something happened …

Sometimes a thought experiment can radically change a prospect’s perspective. If the vendor is particularly entrenched at the buyer’s company, you might want to say,

“Pretend something happened with that vendor such that you never wanted to do business with them again. Describe to me what kind of provider you would look for.”

The prospect will then ramble off a bunch of features, qualifications, and qualities they’d be interested in.

With any luck, a shadow of doubt will cross over their face as they realize — they’re not getting these things with their current vendor! If this happens, pounce on the opportunity to be the first seller in with a hot prospect. 

An Alternative Approach 

I’m a big believer that people often don’t do what they say they’re going to do. This means the best indicator of future actions is past actions.  
 
Therefore, the event that made them switch vendors in the past – whether it was a change in a salesperson, a marketplace shift, or a vendor policy – is highly likely cause them to switch vendors in the future. 
 
When you talk to a decision-maker that fits your ideal customer profile (ICP) but can’t be sold to right now, I suggest asking them if they have time to answer three really quick questions. As long as you are not trying to sell to them, they will often say yes, at which point, you should ask the following 3 questions: 

  1. Who do you use today? 
  2. Who did you use to use? 
  3. What event or events made you switch from your old vendor to your current one? 

 This will help you understand which events are highly likely to have them switch vendors in the future and when you should reach out to try and sell to them. 

Bonus Question 

They could become a hot prospect just a few months down the line, and since you’re talking to them now, you could learn how to be the first person they call once they do decide to switch providers. 
 
If a decision-maker – like the ones shown below – that fits your ideal customer profile (ICP) and has money, the authority to spend it, and influence within their organization, or is on the career path to one day have them you should ask permission to ask one last question. 

 

What can I do to become the first person
you call the next time an event
like this happens?

No matter which approach you take, the important thing is to not leave this prospect alone until an event triggers dissatisfaction and makes them more motivated and therefore more likely to change. 
 
You need to start building the kind of relationship that makes them more likely to choose you in the future. 
 
I’ll cover more about this and how you can position yourself as their backup vendor in my next blog post. 
 
P.S. I recently came across a LinkedIn article by Jeremy Leveille that suggests asking those satisfied with the status quo “What don’t you like about them?”