Not the right time, call me in 6 months

by Chris
(London )

I sell general everyday products to large retailers.

I often get the answer, "I am not looking at that product category at the moment."

If I ask when will they, they say, "later in the year, call back in 6 months."

The other variation on this is, "I have other projects that are more important, call back in 6 months"

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Mar 25, 2020

by: Greg

Hi Chris,

a bit of a "bummer" response.

The "6 months" is particularly daunting.

What would I respond with?

Maybe, "Really? 6 months? You mean you only buy these products less than twice a year?" ... THEN WAIT

"I know you are busy. So am I. If you don't use these products just tell me and I'll be on my way. I won't bother you again. I do think you would use them though and I'm guessing you are buying from another supplier.
Now, if I was that other supplier I'd be approaching you before it was time for you to reorder. And if I just wait till then it'll probably be too late for us to be considered.
We'd like to be considered because [benefit to your prospect]."
Then discuss benefits.
"When would be the best time to visit you again to make sure we can have our "hat in the ring" for your next order, after all, I don't want to be calling you every week to stay in touch"

If they use the other response ..."I have other projects that are more important, call back in 6 months"
I read that to mean they are busy fighting emergencies.
My first response would be to ask, ..
"Sounds like you're busy, what's the problem, maybe I have some contacts that could help?"
"Sounds like you have some big stuff to attend to. Must be stressful? I have a lot of contacts in the industry, maybe I know someone who could help."

This may sound unusual. And I guess I was in importing with effectively an unlimited number of products that I could potentially source and offer. But very close to the biggest business I ever gained was from a situation like this.
I was in the office of the Purchasing Manager of a large multinational.
My sales to them was only about $10,000/ year.
The buyer was distracted and took a couple of urgent phone calls during our meeting.
After he apologised, I enquired about what was the problem.
They had run out of a product "AGAIN" and had to airfreight or one of their production lines would shut down.
About 4 months later I got an order off him for an alternative product for 6 months supply with a value of $400,000. And we kept this business till this company closed their operations in Australia some years later.

It pays to BE CURIOUS and ask questions.

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