“Have you heard of this company?”
“They called me up and scheduled a demo with me.”
“Why did you agree to a demo if you know nothing about them and haven’t heard of them before?”
“I don’t know.”
I have conversations with dealer clients every week similar to that above. This needs to be said and, once again, it won’t make me popular.
YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO LISTEN TO EVERY VENDOR’S PITCH.
That’s not your job. (I don’t care what your title is at the dealership; it is not your job.) The same way not every prospect that submits an online inquiry is obligated to come into the dealership when your team calls them, demo participation is not required.
Your dealership has been functioning profitably for years without this vendor’s help. Could they be of value to your organization? Absolutely.
Is it good to hear new data and trends? For sure.
Might a mutually beneficial partnership blossom? In time, maybe.
Instead of opting in for an in-store demo or a webinar presentation of their services at each request, we advise you take these actions first when managing a vendor sales call (i.e. cold-call).
- Thank them for the call
- Don’t share internal information with them regarding your current plans, providers, budget, sales or service volume if that information is not pertinent to their tool/solution and only to be used for their comparison purposes
- Alert them that you are always interested in hearing about new products BUT you are not seeking to make any changes in the immediate future
- Kindly state that scheduling a webinar review of their product/service or an in-store demo is premature
- Request that they send you an email about their offerings along with any case studies so you can evaluate it on your own, and, if you see a need to partner in the short term, you will reach out promptly to schedule the demo
- Make a mention that you prefer all future correspondence to come through you as you will be bringing this to the attention of other necessary decision makers during your next vendor review
(We add this last part because often, if a vendor doesn’t receive the answer they want, they attempt to bypass you by calling back and hooking a manager into a demo)
In circumstances where they reached out to you by email, simply reply with this template:
Hello [First Name],
It’s a pleasure to be connected. Thank you very much for reaching out. While we love learning of vendor offerings, we aren’t seeking to add new services to our existing operation at this moment. However, please email me some information regarding your services and I will evaluate it on my time. If there is anything intriguing that I feel could be of value to our organization sooner rather than later, I will contact you to set up a demo.
Thanks again, and I will keep an eye out for your email.
There are rarely enough hours in the day for most of us to complete our daily tasks as it stands, so openly sharing yourself so vendors can pitch their wares is not always a good use of your time. You aren’t on their clock; you’re on company time. If the information they email looks appealing, you can begin by conducting a few minutes of online research to their solution before deciding whether to carve out an hour of your day for a demo.
I’ve spoken before, much to the chagrin of others, about my idea for taking back your time with a Vendor Visit Protocol, as it will prevent unwarranted drop-ins, walk-throughs, up-sells, and product presentations that get in the way of more valuable tasks. You must operate as efficiently day to day as possible and being beckoned by every vendor that has a shiny new object to hawk gets in the way of that. Manage vendor sales calls better and you will take back control of your time.