Watch CBSN Live

Is This Customer a Zombie? Help!

In response to the "How to Handle a Zombie" post, a Sales Machine reader just emailed me with this question:
I am a commissioned, independent sales rep, who is trying to introduce a successful vendor of retail items to a new territory, which is dominated by a certain chain. The vendor is successful elsewhere in the country and is well known. However, the vendor unable to provide market intelligence.
I am dancing with one of the 5 influencers inside that chain. I assume, after several conversations, that he wants deferential treatment; i.e. that I should come to him with off sheet, tailored programs for him. However, I've been unable to engage him.
He has not sat with me and compared items, programs, prices, etc, despite my efforts to do so. My desire is to come to him with a tailored program, thereby paying him the "respect" he covets, but the vendor doesn't want to do it that way.
I can either continue to try to get him to sit down, or forget him, and move on, which I don't want to do because of his status, and because its not my nature to do so. Any advice?
Sure. My advice is pretty simple.

Step #1: Stop assuming and start asking. Since you are already in communication with him, and he's apparently taking your calls, you need to ask him what you're doing wrong. There's something here that's not quite right in your approach and you won't know what it is until you ask.

Step #2: Widen your contacts. You say there are 4 other influencers involved. You need to use your sales skills to speak with them, too. There's no reason why you shouldn't be working all five influencers simultaneously, as long as you're not sneaky about it.

Step #3: Push back on the vendor. Meanwhile it sounds to me like the vendor isn't providing you with much. Climb up THEIR management chain and tell them that if they're serious about breaking into that region, they'd better start providing market intelligence and more flexibility.

READERS: Any other advice?