Playing hard to get in action

Mad customerIn the previous post, we talked about the basic sales strategy of playing hard to get. This post will look at an example pulled from a real-life sales call.

To set the stage, imagine that you have developed a manner by which to produce a material that no one else can currently manufacture. The competing material fails in service so often that designers are desperate to design it right out of service, but they are forced to use it because it’s all that’s out there.

OK, so you trot into your prospect’s office and lay out some parts that you made from your new material and their jaws instinctively drop to the ground in amazement, they rush out of the room to huddle and come back in much more composed.

You run the rest of the meeting and collect some cost data on their current practices and gather some forecasts for what a successful material could do in their market place. You leave them with the impression that you’ll get a formal quote to them in about a week but that they should be prepared for an expensive number because your processing route is very costly.

After about a week you overnight them a shiny proposal for your material at $500 per pound – knowing that the competition costs them about $125 per pound. You get an immediate call:

Customer: “This price is unacceptable and you need to resubmit.”

You: “I understand your frustration, but as we detailed in our last meeting, our manufacturing route precludes us from competing with the price of your current solution. Perhaps this isn’t a good fit for our material after all.”

Customer: “Please take another look at your numbers and get back to me next week with your best and final offer.”

A week passes…

Customer: “Have you had a chance to rework your numbers?”

You: “I reviewed our quotation with the production team and we really can’t do much. I could probably shave off about $3 per pound if it would help close the deal, but that’s it.”

Customer: “That’s not even close to enough, this deal is dead!”

You: “Very well then, please keep us in mind if you come across any applications that can bear this increased cost.”

A week passes.

A month passes.

Customer: “Uh, yeah, hi, it looks like we might have found a few applications where your high costs can be acceptable.”

You: “Great, let’s talk!”

A note of caution: this is a very delicate sales strategy that can easily backfire if you’re not completely in tune with your customer’s needs and your competitor’s offerings. It isn’t for the faint of heart.

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