Selling? Then Give Me Your Best Shot!

Selling? Then Give Me Your Best Shot! by pendragon David Whelan One of the things you get to do as you move up organizational ranks is be a part of decisions, eventually becoming ‘the’ decision-maker. As the director of our law library, I spend a good deal of time talking to vendors, service providers, whatever you want to call them. As the customer, I try to make a list of criteria – services, resources, etc. – that I want to get and then ask each vendor to give me a quote or estimate for that request. It’s usually not hard, although some vendors seem to think that they are the only people with a certain product. I can’t tell you how many software vendors told me that they didn’t have any competition, because no-one really does what they do! Come on, people!!

The most irritating thing, though, is to sit down and have someone give you that quote/estimate and then have them add, ‘but if [insert competitor name] offers you a better deal, we’ll match it’. Excuse me? You’ve given me your ‘best’ deal but if someone comes in with a better deal, you want me to give YOU a crack at it? Why not be as aggressive as you can be and then see where the chips fall?

Having said that, I’m not averse to playing one vendor off against another to get the best deal. As a salesperson, that should be assumed, because that’s how the market works! I’m far more impressed when a person gives me a quote and CAN’T budge from it, because then I know (a) they’ve given me their best shot or (b) they don’t really want my business or (c) they’re so full of themselves that I’d rather work with someone else anyway.

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David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.