Buying is a High Risk Job!

In my post, “Solving Our Problems,” Tim Foster reminded me of something the folks at The TAS Group say, “The impact on the customer of a bad buying decision is usually greater than the impact of the lost sale to the sales person.”

It’s something few of us think about, but we need to remind ourselves everyday. The risk to the customer in making a bad buying decision can be very high. The risks far exceed what they pay for the product and the revenue we might get.

To the customer it might mean:

A project failure. The customer is buying our product to achieve some goals. If they make the wrong decision, they may not achieve the goals they expected. The customer may have chosen the wrong component part for a new product, they miss their product launch, they have to redesign and correct the product, increasing their expense. They’ve lost revenue they had counted on for the product launch. Or the customer implements a new manufacturing system, and they don’t get the manufacturing productivity improvements they want.

A failure in serving their customers. What we sell, may be critical in what the customer is doing with their customers. Our product may be an embedded part or component. If they choose the wrong one, they may have product failures with their customers—creating unhappy customers, warranty returns, bad references, lost revenue opportunities, lost reputations. In the worst, it can create lawsuits and other serious exposures.

Loss of their own job. If they make a bad decision, if they fail to meet the goals they had committed to, if the failure is bigger, impacting their customers, and so forth, they may lose their job! Many people in the organization may lose their jobs!

Failure of the company. Sometimes the wrong buying decision may have a serious impact on the company performance overall, impacting the viability of the company, itself. Take a look at the battery supply problems for Fisker Automotive. While the failure of their supplier to deliver (and the failure of that company, itself) may not have been the only reason to the demise of Fisker, it was certainly one of the factors that accelerated Fisker’s demise.

The customer ALWAYS has more at risk than the sales person does. We may lose an order and some revenue. We seldom lose a job for losing a single order. We seldom put our company’s viability at risk for losing a single order. But we have much less at stake than the buyer.

So when we get frustrated with the pace at which the customer is moving. When we wish they would just get on with buying, just out yourself in the customer’s shoes—what do they lose if they make a bad decision? For us it’s a deal, for them, the consequences can be far greater.

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