Seller beware of your duty of care

clip_image006In sales situations the quality of the competitive product is not always the issue. Varied solutions options and quality of offerings all too often compete in the same race for the buyer’s prize money.

In this complex marketplace, where snake oil salesmen are always about for the pickings, winning deals requires good fit and positioning, good timing,  and a highly informed understanding of the prospects performance requirements.

But regardless of approach a difficult responsibility of selling is to ensure prospects are fully informed about what they are buying. This is amplified as procurement processes look to fine print to transfer consequential risks to vendors. Even more telling on Vendors promises is linking them to KPI measures to give  Buyers very sharp fangs to strike back fiercely. Then beware any vendor whose product or service promises fall short of buyer’s supply chain expectations.

Vendor lined KPIs aside, due diligence in sales needs high attention for other reasons.

Under modern law, the rule of Caveat Emptor, Latin for “let the buyer beware”, does not apply to the sale of goods. The rule instead is that the seller is deemed to make an implied warranty that the goods are reasonably fit for the purpose intended by the buyer.

Here is a line I love…  “Nobody goes there anymore; it is too crowded. That is a quote by Yogi Berra (1) the champion US baseball player as told to me by Professor, Roland F. Chessman (2) who teaches the value of original thinking and the risk of following conventional wisdom.”

imageCan you imagine that line being used in a sales process to deflect a skeptical buyer advocate who has asked to revisit a traditional, but outdated solution still widely in use.

Side-tracking, with a valid parody could do the trick to see the salesperson in for timagehe a home run.

But does this break a rule and leave the sale vulnerable to challenge. Albeit it a mute point, was attributing the good professor’s name and associated credibility to the getting of wisdom or the product a good ploy after-all? If it was seen as an endorsement of the product there may be more questions or even issues on ethics.  That aside it could be argued anyway that the ploy skipped a step, so the buyer so was denied a chance to be properly informed.

Good sales organizations realize this and understand there is no substitute for having quality sales people with ability to identify and match with prospects well their needs. Those with highly transparent client linked processes, already see this as a must to survive and have honest client driven sales processes to suit.

The opportunity that presents with rapid change and choices still means dubious “Come in Spinner” (3) sales methods will still be about. But as take up increases on business performance systems, Vendor performance becomes more transparent to allow more  businesses to push back their business risk   Shady tactics will then be challenged and will invariably result in venomous bite-backs as the snake oil salesmen themselves get bitten.


NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21:  Yogi Berra stands on...1 Yogi Berra is a dry humoured baseball legend with a quick wit. Check him out?

2. The real Professor Roland F. Chessman, if he exists at all, Roland Chessman has no relevance to this article at all except to make a point.  May he remain rest easy that he is otherwise  uncompromised.

clip_image0063. Come in Spinner – (Top Picture) is an Australian phase that refers to a sucker being taken in. It relates to side betting in a coin tossing game of chance called two-up.

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