A Difficult Sales Decision
You are prospecting a bank. A big bank. This would be a coup if you landed it. After many attempts and several months, you are finally granted an audience. At the end of the phone call setting up a time to meet, the client adds: “Make sure you bring samples of other printed work you have done for banks.”
How do you handle this request?
On the one hand, you are anxious to demonstrate your experience in their vertical. Showing samples accomplishes that.
On the other, how would the bank feel about samples printed for their direct competitor? Would they see it as a threat?
A case could be made for both responses. Personally, I’d choose this one:
“I’ve brought samples we have printed for other customers, but you will notice there are no examples from banks. There is a reason for that. We consider each client relationship to be sacred and never speak of one customer to another, even if it’s simply to say, ‘Here’s a list of companies we print for!’ We don’t want you to ever think we are talking to others about you. Instead, let me tell you what I know about banks…” At this point, I would reel off a litany of talking points regarding the business needs and habits of banks as a way of demonstrating my knowledge of their world. For example, banks spend ten times as much on promotions as they do on marketing and there are 15 banks in the US that send out 1MM mailing pieces a year designed to get new customers. That kind of information that only comes from pre-call research.
Here’s what your customers need to know about your equipment: It’s beige and uses electricity. Far more important is your understanding of them. That’s the key differentiator.
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