Updated: Feb 6, 2021
Recently I was teaching the Phase Selling for Additive Manufacturing training course to a reputable and well-established reseller and was asked; “When is the best time to share our selling terms with a prospect?” More specifically, the question was aimed at sharing payment and shipping terms, as well as down payment requirements. Anyone who has been selling additive manufacturing equipment for a while understands the frustration of finally receiving the long-awaited purchase order from the buyer, only to discover that it does not match the formal price quote they were provided. This error, or oversight, will typically result in a rejected contract when it gets to order management. None of us want to make this type of uncomfortable or embarrassing phone call to a new or existing customer. So, what steps can be taken to help mitigate this all-too-common issue that creates last-minute bottlenecks and has the potential of killing a deal?
As a sales professional, referring to your company’s terms and conditions too early can be just as unforgiving as describing them too late. According to the Phase Selling process, the connection phase has been successfully completed only after the prospect has provided you with their timeline, budget, and needs. Once you obtain this information you should begin to openly discuss your Ts & Cs, but not a moment sooner! Make it a best practice to follow up this critical conversation with an email describing the pertinent details that were discussed. If there are questions later in the sales cycle, this email can be useful to represent what each party has agreed to. Your selling terms will also be revisited when you’re reviewing the formal price quotation, during the confirmation phase. In short, follow the Phase Selling methodology in its entirety by communicating clearly, early, and often!
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
—George Bernard Shaw
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