If you are a frequent eBay or Craigslist user, then you are accustom to the “Whatchatake?” OK, let me back up… I am a southerner, and part of our unique culture is that we love to take several words and jam them together into a bigger, more useful word. “Whatchatake?” is a southern word for “What will you take?” or “What is your lowest price?” I was raised on a farm, and bartering and trading were a way of life. When you don’t have much money, but have a need, the phrase, “Whatchatake?” becomes your favorite byword. Although I no longer live on the farm, I still love the thrill of the bargain hunt.
Recently, I was in a—let’s just say a more northern state. I was on Craigslist looking for a bargain for a motorhome accessory that I had seen on another Mercedes Sprinter. After several texts and some serious bargaining, the seller asked me where I was from. I said Tennessee! His comment was,”You southern folks are always wanting to get something for nothing.” I sent him a smiley face from my cell phone and said, “No, I’m more interested in getting something for something!” Traders, as my grandfather taught me, always need to make sure there is a little meat on the bone. He use to say, “Son, if you get a good deal at the expense of another person getting a bad deal, then it’s not a good deal.” In today’s management jargon, this is called win-win. So how does that work? Well, both parties need to make sure there is some meat left on the trading bone. Life is all about give and take! But you can’t always expect to walk away with the big win. I do some consulting work for a wonderful company in Houston, Texas. Recently, I was asked to speak to a hotel general manager (GM) about their existing contract. It was on my way back to the airport, and I was happy to help. To say that the GM was a little hostile is being polite. In our first three minute exchange, he told me that he was not going to upgrade his service, he did not believe in contracts exceeding three years, and he had decided to go with another provider. Most every salesman worth his or her salt knows two things:
1. The salesperson’s job is to relieve pain.
2. Never underestimate the sales triangle of good, fast, and cheap; you can have any two, but not three.
I listened very carefully for him to wind down, and then I asked him one very carefully planed question, “Why?”
He gave me the most interesting look and said, “Why, what?”
I asked, “Are you no longer going to have TVs for your guests?”
He said, “Of course!”
I then told him that before visiting, I had checked his service, and he had had no down times in the last four years. Then I asked, “Are you considering upgrading your service?” He told me a competitor had given him a quote on an updated service. I said, “That’s awesome!”
To that he said, “What?”
I laughed and said, “What can I do to change your mind?”
He said his mind was made up!
“Does your new provider have any partnerships with wholesalers who can save you 35% on your new TV’s? You know about our reliability. Have you used this provider before? Since you are an existing customer, you are aware of our discount for existing customers who resign, right?”
You see, he was just asking, “Whatchatake?”
Within 15 minutes, I got his business, singed a five year contract, upgraded his service, and we left with bones full of meat. Win-win! He didn’t want something for nothing.
He wanted something for something.