My sales career has been in an industry that provides essential products. Sometimes those products can be in short supply, which makes customers vulnerable to pricing pressure. Salespeople may see product scarcity as an opportunity to maximize their margins at the customer’s expense. If you lose sight of your buyer’s best interest, however, it is likely to cost you in the long-term. I suggest that you carefully evaluate your position before taking advantage of a short supply situation.

Three common traps

Consider these three common selling traps and how they work against guarding your buyer’s best interest.

  1. Inflating price — When a customer’s urgent need makes it impossible for them to negotiate, you can sell at an inflated price. However, once the crisis passes and your competitor’s pricing is significantly lower, your buyer will likely change suppliers. The lowest price is always the buyer’s goal.
  2. Overstating capabilities — Leading a customer to believe that you can solve problems beyond your competency is never a good idea. Your buyer knows what he needs to get the job done.   Over promising a solution in order to make a sale never ends well. When you hear, “…but you promised,” you have overstepped your reach and will likely not see any more business.
  3. Overselling the product — Are you pitching a product or service that is too sophisticated for the customer’s need?  If your client’s original equipment does a better job than the new product you deliver, there will be complaints. Selling technical capabilities that are beyond a customer’s particular need leads to buyer’s revenge sooner or later.

Buyer’s Best Interest

If you are interested in developing long-term sales relationships, always keep the buyer’s best interest in mind.  Most short-term deals made under the above circumstances lead to lack of buyer trust and future sales. I have seen these traps create great anxiety for sales professionals, and even job loss. Paraphrasing William Shakespeare: “Hell hath no fury like a buyer’s scorn.”

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