My Sales Manager and I were in a meeting with a potential customer in his factory, trying to clinch his order for two VMCs (Vertical Machining Centers), each costing about Rs. 2.5 million.
With a very thoughtful look, the potential customer said, “Sir, out of the 6 offers that I received, I’ve shortlisted 2: yours and NMT’s. According to me, your machine is better, but only marginally. However, NMT’s final offer is about 6 % lower than your latest offer. With that price advantage, I’m inclined to order their machines. I could change my mind if you match their price or if you can give me hard information about your machines or about your after-sales service, or any information about NMT’s machines or about their after-sales service, that convinces me that it would be good business sense for me to pay a higher price for your machines.”
I replied, “Mr. Ashok, we have already offered you our rockbottom price. Any further reduction is not possible. We’ve also given you all information that would convince you about the superior features of our machines and the excellence of our after-sales service. Of course, I’ll be pleased to reply to any questions that you may ask.”
“I have no questions about your machines or about your after-sales service. But, your sales personnel have not pointed out any disadvantages of NMT’s machines nor have they given me any negative information about NMT’s after-sales service. If I get such information from you, I may be convinced to change my mind in your favour.” Having said this, Mr. Ashok leaned back in his chair and gave me a searching look.
I replied, “Mr. Ashok, it is our policy not to make any negative remarks against any of our competitors. If we lose business because of this policy, so be it.”
“OK, sir. NMT are meeting me later today. I’ll convey my final decision to you tomorrow morning,” Mr. Ashok said.
At 9.30 am the next day, Mr. Ashok telephoned me and asked if I could meet him at 12.30 pm. I agreed.
As soon as my Sales Manager and I were seated in his office, Mr. Ashok said, “Sir, neither you nor your sales personnel gave me any negative information about NMT. On the other hand, NMT made many negative remarks against your machines and your after-sales service. Hence, I’ve decided to buy your machines. I am convinced that your positive approach to business is much more valuable than the higher price that I’ll be paying! Here’s my Purchase Order. Now, please join me for lunch to celebrate our new business relationship!”