Here’s an example of a technique that can get you good leasing leads from a vendor every time.
Start by helping the vendor to help you. I believe that most vendors do want to help you and that they don’t knowingly want to waste your time. When you call a vendor and ask for the best leasing lead, though, you’ve put the whole world in front of him and asked him to pick out the one best prospect for you to spend your time on. That’s way too much pressure and responsibility.
The first thing you need to do, then, I call shrinking the world. Ask the vendor, of the last five presentations you made, (you can use three, seven, ten or whatever’s appropriate to the kind of vendor you’re working with; the point is to focus the vendor on a manageable number that are fresh in his memory); of the last five presentations you made that haven’t closed yet, which one are you most surprised didn’t close? See, you’ve shrunk the world down to five specific prospects, none of whom have made a leasing or cash decision yet and, most importantly, asked him a question he’s qualified to answer. Even more importantly, the answer to this question is the best prospect he’s got; the one he did a ‘spot-on’ presentation for; the one that has the most use for the equipment; and the one that he knows can afford it. The reason I like this question is that the vendors are never surprised they didn’t close the marginal prospects. They’re never surprised they didn’t close the one they doubted could afford it.
The one they’re surprised at is the one they’re sure can afford it. So now ask him why he’s surprised they didn’t close and what you’ll get is a clear description of how much that prospect will benefit from using the equipment. The vendor knows that benefit but frequently it hasn’t been communicated effectively, or justified financially to the prospect. I now know two critical things. I know there’s prospect that very likely could afford to buy the equipment and I understand exactly how using that equipment will benefit that prospect. Pretty potent stuff, don’t you agree, and very likely a good leasing prospect.
So here’s what to ask the vendor now. If I were to talk to that prospect, I don’t know, maybe I ran into him in the grocery store or at a party, and we got talking about how he’d use that equipment and somehow, for some reason, he decided to lease it from me and your sale got closed, would you really care that the money came from me instead of from him?
Now, who wouldn’t say no to that! See, what I did, to make it non-threatening, before we even talked about identifying the specific prospect the vendor’s thinking about, is ask him a theoretical question so patently absurd he’d have to go along with it. In fact, the more hypothetical or absurd the example, the better because I’m talking about one of the most treasured things the vendor has, and that’s a hot prospect, and I want him to understand and agree with me conceptually before he has to think about actually putting his prospect on the line.
So if he does agree that he wouldn’t care where the money came from, now I’ll say. Well, I have no idea if your prospect would even be interested but let me tell you what I’d ask him if I did run into him and you tell me if this could in any way jeopardize your sale. Here’s what I’d ask him.
Mr. Prospect, what got your interest about this equipment? I’d ask that first, Mr. Vendor, because that brings back to the front of his mind all the benefits he’d get from using it and that’s what he’ll generally describe to me; exactly how he’d benefit from it. When he does, I’d respond by asking him this. Mr. Prospect, if I could show you how you could have all those benefits, (and I’d basically parrot back to him a recap of the benefits he described to me as the reasons he’s interested), if I could show you how you could have those and you didn’t have to buy a thing and the federal government would, in effect, subsidize up to a third of the cost, would it be worth ten to fifteen minutes of your time for me to go over that with you? That’s exactly what I’d say to him, Mr. Vendor, and let me tell what I’d find out as a result and then you tell me if it would jeopardize your sale or maybe help it.
Generally, when I ask that of a prospect I’ll find out one of three things. First is, he’s not interested because he’s already decided to buy it from you, knows how he’s going to pay for it and just hasn’t gotten around to telling you yet and if that’s the case I’ll be able to call you and tell you. Wouldn’t that be good news? Second is, he is interested and we sit down and look at some leasing options and he gives me the go ahead and I call you back and tell you I’m sending you a purchase order. Wouldn’t that also be good news? The third thing I’m likely to find out is that there’s some other fly in the ointment holding up the sale. Maybe he doesn’t really understand the equipment, or he’s not really the final decision maker, or they’re looking at competing proposals. Now, of course, I know that’s not good news but wouldn’t if be important and helpful information to you, just the same, if I found that out for you?
Now the reason that this has been so successful, and so, of course, why I like it so much, is two fold. I doesn’t matter what other leasing programs the vendor’s got available, be they broker programs, bank programs or in-house programs. If I can get him thinking about his prospects in this way, he’s thinking of a single good prospect and whatever else he’s got available is either not working or it didn’t occur to him to try it. Either way, I’m not threatening to any existing program because we’re not talking about giving up anything he’s doing; we’re talking about trying to find out where he stands on a specific transaction.
Secondly, I like it because I get to decide whether or not I even want to call on the prospect. If, when he describes the prospect that my initial question brings to his mind, if it doesn’t seem like a likely prospect for me, I can skip right past it. I’m not promising to be his leasing program and committing to investing my time trying to get any and every prospect he’s got credit approval. We’re just taking about one specific –open- opportunity he’s got and, if it sounds good to me, what I might do to help him close it.