Is The Prospect Happy With Their Current Supplier, Or Are They Just A Comfortable Old Shoe?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

old sneakersThe, “I am happy and satisfied with my current supplier…” objection, has and still plagues sales people. While I have written volumes on this subject, I thought it best if I take a minute and give you something else to think about on the subject.

Here is another way you need to THINK about how to handle this objection, which actually is not an objection in the first place.

The Concept
Usually, when you ask the buyer about their current supplier, it seems the longer they have been with the supplier, the less your chances for getting your foot in the door. Prospective buyers are quick to boast about how long they have been working with your competition. However, it is that longevity, which actually works in your favour.

Business as Usual
When that current supplier went after the account, they did everything they could to earn the buyer’s business. They spent lots of money and invested time. The sales rep bent-over-backwards to close the sale and get the account.

However, what often happens is that after many years, the company and account rep come to depend on the business and even take client’s loyalty for granted. This is very common in business today. Most companies are spending the bulk of their time and money impressing and wooing NEW customers. The old, dependable accounts begin to get less attention and most do not receive the benefits and services that newer customers receive.

Open Their Eyes
You need to understand this and help the prospect realise that it is very possible that they are getting less than they deserve DUE to the fact that they have been doing business with the same supplier for so many years. How would they even know?

Here is a very generic example of the thinking that you need to help convey to the happy and satisfied buyer.

Sales Person
“Steve, I appreciate the fact that you have been doing business with ABC Company for so many years. And I am certain that they did everything right to EARN your business. The question you need to ask yourself Steve, is are they STILL EARNING your business?

What often happens Steve, is that over time, the supplier becomes like a comfortable old shoe—you know; those old shoes that have become tattered and are falling apart—but you keep them because you are used to them. In a sense, you have become accustomed to the lack of performance, style and comfort that better shoes could provide. And, the same is true in the reverse, in where the customer becomes like a comfortable old shoe for the supplier—they don’t have to work as hard any longer to deliver because they know they can depend on the old shoe to be there.

My point Steve, is that every once in a while, don’t you think you need to make sure that your supplier is not taking your business for granted? Don’t you want to make sure they are still EARNING your business?”

The Sales Process
Of course, this all depends on WHEN in the sales interaction you get this so-called objection, but I think you get the idea. All you want to do is help the prospect understand that it is in their best interest to at least take a look at what you offer, if for no other reason than to keep their current supplier on their toes.

Once the door is open, then do what you should do!

Happy Selling


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 8 August, 2012

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