The Customer Has Postponed The Final Purchasing Decision

By | March 15, 2007

What do the following reasons for quarterly targets being missed have in common?

  1. The customer has postponed the final purchasing decision.
  2. An order I was hoping would come in has been referred to head office because of its size.
  3. The pricing issue I raised at the last sales meeting has come back to haunt us, so we lost it because we are too expensive.
  4. Our delivery times are rubbish.
  5. The incumbent supplier won it – again.
  6. Our proposal has got embroiled in internal politics; we need to wait until it’s sorted.
  7. We didn’t meet the minimum thresholds to go on the preferred supplier list.
  8. The competition are buying business – we can’t compete.
  9. The MD had a downer on us because of a bad experience in a previous life.
  10. The timings have slipped but it still should come through.

Apart from appearing on a real list collected from a client’s CRM system, the common denominator is they show a complete lack of ownership on the part of the salesperson. No one reason has anything to do with their performance, activity or behaviour, they are all (apparently) external to their influence or actions. The truth behind these reasons is what is interesting. How responsible is the salesperson for allowing these situations to develop? What earlier actions could they have taken to prevent the order not being placed?

If salespeople don’t see themselves responsible for the circumstances they encounter they bother much less in trying to influence outcomes, their energies focused much more on getting their excuses prepared. A business version of ‘my dog ate my homework’. High ownership cultures have sales people stating things in terms of what they can ideally control or at least influence.

Look at the same list of reasons with a high ownership perspective; you’ll notice the word I appearing much more:

  1. The customer has postponed the final purchasing decision, I didn’t realise this was on their agenda.
  2. An order I was hoping would come in has been has been referred to head office because of its size. I need to get sharper in understanding their decision making processes.
  3. The pricing issue I raised at the last sales meeting has come back to haunt us, so we lost it because we are too expensive. Next time I’ll work harder at persuading the pricing group to engage with the argument.
  4. Our delivery times are rubbish. We need to forecast better.
  5. The incumbent supplier won it – again. We don’t know enough about why they prefer dealing with them and not us.
  6. Our proposal has got embroiled in internal politics; we need to wait until it’s sorted. I need to network better throughout their buying system.
  7. We didn’t meet the minimum thresholds to go on the preferred supplier list. A basic screw up on my part, sorry.
  8. The competition are buying business – we can’t compete. I’ll hang on in; their customers will soon see the pricing is unsustainable.
  9. The MD had a downer on us because of a bad experience in a previous life. I need to get our MD in front of her to show what a different organisation we now are.
  10. The timings have slipped but it still should come through. It will be in next month’s numbers.

A very different mind-set, one where admitting faults and mistakes and finding solutions are all possible. Salespeople who take ownership of their environment, control the outcomes much more effectively.

SalesPathways help sales organisations develop high ownership cultures, to find out more please contact us.

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