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In honor of Primary Intelligence’s 15th anniversary, we’re sharing 15 of our favorite items across 15 topics.

It’s like 225 thank you gifts for you, from us.

15 Awesome Buyer Quotes

After more than 25,000 interviews with decision makers, we’ve heard it all, from the great sales rep to the lousy communicator, the confusing contract to the easy negotiation. Here are just 15 awesome things buyers have told us, each with something you can learn to improve your sales process.

“The sales guy was pretty unresponsive. He showed up late to a meeting because he forgot we were supposed to be meeting. I had to call my team to have them come in. It felt like he was scrambling as opposed to really having a good solid plan in place to earn our business.” —Executive Vice President, making an IT purchase

Lesson: The small things, like showing up on time, underscore how much you want the business.

“Our Controller was looking at corporate standardization on one vendor. He jumped on their web site and tried to get a national rep to give us a call. They weren’t very responsive. In the meantime, another vendor sent some basic documentation in the mail, so I called them and pretty much the rest was history. We closed the deal within seven days.” —Director of Facilities Manager, making an equipment purchase

Lesson: Get your lead response process in order. Decision makers who contact you are ready to buy, so you need to act quickly.

“When you ask a sales rep a question and he says, ‘I don’t know but I’ll find out,’ I begin to trust him. I asked some weird questions and my sales rep said, ‘I don’t know but I’ll find out.’ He always did. A lot of these guys that come in here, they just give me any answer or the answer they think I want to hear.” —Director of Facilities Manager, making an IT purchase

Lesson: Don’t fake it. Lean on experts and seek to deliver complete answers for buyers.

“We didn’t trust one vendor. I have other products with that vendor and I don’t get the support that I really require. I didn’t trust them. I always get much better service through another vendor I considered. When you are there at midnight on a Friday night, or on a holiday, and you need support, the person who steps up is the one that you go back to. I’m on an Enterprise network. That is a worldwide network and I have 24/7 responsibilities. I have a 99.9% up-time requirement.” —Client Network Architect, making an IT purchase

Lesson: Existing customers will consider their past experience. Proactively find and resolve support or product issues to build trust for future business.

“One thing I actually liked about the sales rep is that after we started conversations, he looked me up on LinkedIn and asked to connect with me. And I know that sounds really silly, but it felt like he wanted to engage with me not just at the business level, but also at a personal level. That actually made me feel good about doing business with this company.” —Director of Sales and Marketing, making a business software purchase

Lesson: Buyers consider their entire experience with your brand, not just the experience during a sales meeting. Attempt to connect with buyers through multiple channels.

“I have been very, very disappointed with my purchase. I’ve been having some troubles with the product for the last two and a half months. We haven’t been able to figure out what the issue is. The vendor keeps sending people to work on the issues, and they tell me it’s fixed, but it’s still not working. I had to leave my house the other day at 4:00 in the morning to deal with an issue it caused. They’re not finding out what the problem is. They do call me. We do talk. They send people over, but the problem doesn’t get solved.” —Small business owner, after making a building equipment purchase

Lesson: Customer support is about more than communication. Customers want solutions to their problems. Identify how well your support system solves problems, beyond good response time.

“Lately, our incumbent vendor seemed to be a bit schizophrenic. It could be a function of not having a dedicated account rep to talk to, but when we ask about their future roadmap with certain products, it’s unclear. The other vendors we evaluated have been very clear about the upgrade path and the direction they are going in the six months to two years. For whatever reason, our incumbent vendor seems to be unclear as to where they are going in the future, whether it be short term or long term. It’s not that we are thinking they are financially unstable, but we know they seem to be trying to figure out on the fly where they want to be in a year or two. That’s a bit of a concern to us.” —Chief Procurement Officer, after deciding to replace an incumbent IT vendor

Lesson: Customers are looking for partners. Actively communicate your plans with customers and solicit their feedback on your direction.

“Our incumbent vendor really suffers from being too distributed. We have purchased products where the cost was very good and it was easy for us to buy them, but they were so difficult to work with after the sale. When you call them with a problem, they send you somewhere else. The equipment we received was from Mexico. The call service was in India. The order was filled in Brazil. There was also a person on the East Coast that we had to talk to. None of them knew what any of the other ones were doing, so instead of forwarding us to the correct person, they would tell us to call another number. We spent about a month in vendor hell trying to figure out our license because they put the license in the wrong place. It was very frustrating.” —Project Engineer, after making a business software purchase

Lesson: Know your customer’s support journey. Is the path for help clear? Do you have a central system for documenting customer interactions and resolutions? Are you empowering teams to resolve issues immediately?

“Interestingly, one vendor we considered had been around the longest from an online perspective, but their website comparatively really looked old and not user friendly. For example, it had a lot of links instead of buttons. So, out of the gate their website was not very innovative, not very fresh, not very new. That colored our perception of their product and we dinged them on it.” —Consultant, after helping a F500 company replace a medical services provider

Lesson: Every touchpoint should be consistent with your brand and messaging. Actively review collateral to ensure it aligns.

“The vendor we selected has quarterly Lunch & Learns. They invited me to one, and I actually sat in with their clients and went through demonstrations. It gave you a good feel for how it actually works. There were non-profit agencies like ours in the room and so I asked the other people questions and I got real feedback.” —Accounting Manager, after making a business software purchase

Lesson: Buyers respond to third-party feedback. Find creative ways to connect your buyers with existing customers.

“I’m very disappointed in the way this relationship has started with the winning vendor. Our project manager promptly scheduled our first conference call at the only time we told her we could not be available, which wasn’t too impressive. When we were supposed to have the conference call, it was cancelled because somebody called in sick. So, that’s my sum total of experience at this point, and right now I’m not impressed. All of us are feeling apprehensive about our decision at the moment.” —Director of QA and System Administrator, after making a business software purchase decision

Lesson: The customer’s journey doesn’t end when the deal closes. Evaluate your implementation and account management processes to earn continued business from your customers.

“One of the vendors was a front-runner forever and ever. They put a good salesman in front of me, who was always sending e-mails and calling. Then, in talking to some of my friends in a casual conversation, the problems that they were having with this vendor came up. There was a lot of down time and it really put a bad taste in their mouth. I heard that from two different people at the same table, so that is why I stopped evaluating that vendor and looked at alternatives. The whole reason for the change in direction was that word of mouth.” —President, after making a financial software purchase

Lesson: Buyers will gain information about your product on their own. Stay close during the deal to uncover concerns you can help resolve.

“We seem to get a new sales rep about yearly. I don’t know if it’s turnover or promotions or what, but the vendor changes our sales rep a lot. To have a good working relationship is awful hard when you change sales reps, and right now we’re dealing with a new one. He’s still learning the ropes, I think, so he’s a little slower then what we’re used to, but I think he’s just getting used to the process.” —Network Service Coordinator, after making an IT purchase

Lesson: Changes happen. Put in place a system to capture account intelligence to facilitate a warm hand-off when a change in the account team is necessary.

“One of the things that I’ve always disliked about meeting with vendors is having to deal with the sales rep trying to discredit the other product or the competitors. To me, that is not professional and I dislike that very much. The vendor we have now is fantastic and doesn’t do that. They emphasize only their product and what their product can do.” —Network Service Coordinator, after making an IT hardware purchase

Lesson: Buyers often don’t respond to overt competition bashing. Focus on your points of differentiation and drive the evaluation criteria, but let the buyer fill in the blanks about the competition.

“I wish the sales rep had more communication with the project manager. It feels like the sales rep told us stuff was included, but then I ended up arguing with the project manager because she was saying that it was out of the scope of her duties to include that. The sales rep did a great job, but also set my expectations really, really high.” —HR Consultant, after making a business software purchase

Lesson: Customers define the quality of their experience based on how it meets expectations. Increase communication between sales and operations and facilitate a warm hand-off. (Also, avoid overselling. Tell buyers what they really purchased.)

Fairy tales are good. Sales fairy tales are the best.

Read Mr. Green & the Five Firms, a modern-day sales story based on true events.