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Friday, April 27, 2018
Article written by Tom Richard

Nice Guys Finish First

After months of thorough comparisons and detailed product demonstrations from a litany of worthy suitors, it was time for the owner's final decision. Just three vendors remained, yet only one would be awarded the large equipment purchase.

On his way into work, the owner felt confident in the choice he finally made the previous evening. He grabbed his cup of coffee and headed into his office to check his messages. Unsurprisingly, there were messages from each of the three vendors. However, two of those three hopefuls had also sent revised proposals, which included lowered prices and the addition of free products.

Despite these good offers, the owner was a bit annoyed. These hopefuls had waited until the last possible minute to make these offers. The owner decided to call both salespeople to investigate the sudden change. Hoping to hear a clarified explanation, the owner was confused by their cleverly spun sophistry regarding the conveniently timed price reductions.

Still annoyed by the hassle of revisiting what was once a clear decision, the owner decided the childish game may be worth tolerating. After all, he could save money on a decision he had already made. However, as the morning progressed, the two sales proposal revisionists continued to engage in a cannibalistic price war. By noon, he had received four revised proposals, each one more confusing than the last.

Trying to make the most of it, the owner called the one company who had chosen not to participate in the morning’s price war. He informed the company of what had happened and waited to receive more price concessions. However, this salesperson was different. "I wish I could do more," he said. "But at our first meeting, you asked for my best prices, and that is what I gave you. Simply put, sir, we're not here to play games. We love what we do and would love the opportunity to serve you."

The owner didn't know what to do. Confused and frustrated, he laid out all of the new proposals on his desk and tried to make sense of them. Some had free products in one category and full priced products in another, while others had discounted products across all categories.

"Why did these salespeople wait until the last minute to give me these options?" he wondered. Feverishly pounding away at his calculator, the owner’s tolerance quickly evaporated and was replaced with anger. He refused to be a pawn in this predictable sales game. He just wanted a clear and straightforward proposal from someone he could trust.

In a moment, his decision was made. He picked up the phone, called the one company who refused to be a part of the price war, and told him his signed agreement would soon be faxed over.

Whoever said "Nice guys finish last" was likely one of these one-hit-wonders who is so focused on crossing the finish line that he steps on every person who gets in his way. Ironically, people like this also make claims that their company has a 97% satisfaction rate and their customer service is the best in the industry. Little do they realize that every action they make and every word they speak directly contradicts these hollow statements.

The truth is that nice guys (and gals) finish first if they stand firm by their values. Instead of flying the “we are different” banner, let your actions and methods do the talking for you. Your customers will appreciate the fact that you don’t treat them like an ignorant pinball in a childish sales game.

Your integrity and honesty will build the trust that will make customers want to do business with you. Not only will you win more customers in the short term, you’ll have the solid foundation to create relationships that will last for sales to come.
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