A lot of dealers post their equipment online, but hide their prices,
asking "please call for price".
I want to know why exactly they do it.
Is that so that they can find out about the customer, to base the
asking price on how much money the customer has?
Or is that because they do not have the product but are just web
spamming for leads?
On Thu, 14 Feb 2013 14:49:43 -0600, Ignoramus30459
They want you as a prospect, above all. They want to qualify you
(salesman's term) and to find out what you really want. If it happens
to be the machine you're calling about, they'll start negotiating.
They don't expect to sell you that machine. But they expect to sell
you something -- if you're qualified.
This is not what savvy advertisers of new machines do, but it's nearly
universal among used-machinery dealers. Savvy advertisers know the
research, and know they'll get more calls if they include a price. It
may be high, but that's a qualifier, too.
(former U.S. Sales Manager, Sodick EDM)
No... ask the dealer! <G>
The reputable dealers will even ship a machine "on spec", with the
condition that you pay shipping both ways.
It's a great ploy, because shipping on "real metal" is usually pretty
high, and the potential buyer has a great incentive to fix whatever's
wrong with the machine, rather than ship it back.
On Thu, 14 Feb 2013 15:50:08 -0600, Ignoramus30459
Ok. There are several parts. It's easiest to explain the steps they go
through. This is not absolutely universal, but in any decent size
operation, it's like this:
When you call, the sales person has a "lead card" or "lead form" in
from of him (or her). They want your name and company. It goes down on
the form. Now you're his customer and he's "protected" from other
salesmen at his company.
They respond nicely to your inquiry about XYZ machine. They'll often
give you the asking price at this point. Then their questions and
They want to know when you're planning to buy a machine (within 30
days, 90 days, one year, or you're just fishing.) If it's 30 days,
you're qualified as "hot."
They may ask then how you plan to finance it, or if you want to
finance through them. That's the first step in qualifying whether
you're really able to pay. If you have a Dun's number, they'll know
it, maybe even while you're on the phone. <g> They want to know how
well your company pays but they don't need to ask you about that. They
have it from their Dun's report. If you don't have a Dun's number,
they'll put that aside and continue with the qualifying.
They'll ask what you're using to do the job now. From that, you'll be
qualified as an upgrade, a replacement, or new-project, if you're not
actually doing the job at present.
From that they'll decide what they really want to sell you. As often
as not, it's not the machine you're inquiring about. If you sounded
stunned at the price they gave you at first, and if they have
something cheaper, they may redirect to that. If you're still stunned,
your qualification has just cooled down. <g> Or they may have
something better and they'll test you with that, to see how you
All the while, they're trying to determine how serious you are. If
you're serious, they'll hang on like a shark.
They'll have many negotiating points, which they'll use to get the
price down without sounding like they're just dropping the price.
Delivery time. Transformers and power. Tooling and accessories. Etc.
Before they go very far with negotiations, if they're nearby, they'll
do their best to get you to their facility to see the machine. If they
don't really have the machine in their possession, they'll keep going
and asking "qualifying questions."
Qualifying question examples: "Do you have your own rigger, or do you
want us to handle that?" "Regarding financing, shall we get your
information down now so I can get you an answer today or tomorrow?"
These can also be constructed as "closing questions," which are more
blunt: "Shall we have it painted in your company's colors (if you're
GM <g>), or will you handle that? When do you want to schedule a
runoff?" "We can offer a variety of tooling options. Which of these
three packages works best for you?"
They're called "closing questions" because a positive answer from you
on one of them means you're sold. You're closed. Those questions are
not open-ended; they give you specific options. If the salesman
doesn't screw up, he's now counting on a sale.
The qualifying, then, determins if you're serious; if you're really
able to buy; how quickly you need the machine, and if you're under any
pressure to get it installed quickly; which machine is the one you
really want or need; and similar things. You're "qualified" at one of
several levels. The sales company may even use an "A, B, C, D, forget
about it" scale. This is all info for the sales manager to manage his
So, when do you want your new EDM, Mr. Chudov, this Friday, or will
next Wednesday be Ok? NEVER ask that question, as a salesman, without
providing specific options. The sales manager will kill you if you do.
Those are closing questions, too. <g>
If you're qualified but you aren't going to buy now, that salesman
will hang on to you as a ranked lead, and you'll get mail, or e-mail,
or phone calls, or all three.
Ed Huntress (who hasn't done this for 20 years, but probably still
could if he had to)
who the hell has time for all that nonsense?
I send a list of what I want, my zip code and how I like things shipped.
Suppliers gives me a price or they're out. They're welcomed to ignore me
too, I'll be making a purchase, just not with them.
There's the ocassional item where you're stuck with one supplier due to
"territories" and other obsolete relics from the past, but there's always
alternatives to those obnoxious places.
On Thu, 14 Feb 2013 23:59:30 +0000 (UTC), Cydrome Leader
That all happens in around 15 minutes. And I never sold a new machine
tool for less than $70,000 -- most over $200,000. I've sold a few used
machines, never for less than $25,000 that I recall.
That's the way it's done. If you don't go through those steps, you
don't get a sale.
The "RFQ, best price wins" buyers, like you're describing, get a quick
quote and move on to the next one. The ones like you are not very
common in the machine tool business.
How in the hell do you know what you're buying?
If you get a reply, you're at least dealing with a seller that is
responsive. Prices and options can be worked on from there.
I recall having to weed out the clowns when helping select an office phone
system years ago. It was a medium sized install of about $40,000 for the
switch, heandsets and wiring.
the level of assholery from the vendors we had bid was incredible. You
could tell they were checking off reasons to take us for a ride like how
snazzy the office looked, what big deal clients we had etc.
The honest vendor would start off with questions like how many employees,
what system do you have now, is there a system you like, what timeframe.
The scum would start out with how much money is in your bank account, how
big deal of a company are you etc. People like to brag at this point,
which is also a mistake, because it always gets the sales people excited
and they start to add on stuff you don't need and extra zeros in pricing.
The other obnoxious thing sales folk do is provide some vague non-itemized
One funny one I saw recently was $4000 to rackmount one server. This only
came out when the itemized quote was demanded.
Most of this crap can be avoided if you, as the potential customer drive
On Fri, 15 Feb 2013 18:21:00 +0000 (UTC), Cydrome Leader
I thought you said you just ask for a price, and they're up or out?
"Questions?" I thought you didn't have time for that nonsense.
Those are the same kinds of questions I described above. Most
salesmen, if they don't know your company, will try to qualify whether
you're a genuine potential buyer or not, as early as they can. You can
waste enormous amounts of time with tire-kickers.
But if it doesn't fit into the conversation, you can just as well
start off qualifying them on the basis of their needs. Which is
exactly what you describe, and what I was talking about when I said
the salesman has to get a handle on what machine is best for you.
If I put your two different responses together, it sounds like you
give them an RFQ, and then, if they give you a quote, you start
If you're specifying machine tools and you know exactly what you want
(government agencies always pretend they do; so do academic
institutions -- it's in their purchasing rules), then by all means,
give them an RFQ and sit back. But you know, and everyone in the
business knows, that doing so is little more than a pro forma
exercise. All you have is a starting point, at best.
Most small- to medium-size buyers, such as job shops and very small
manufacturers, don't have a formal RFQ procedure. They call and start
talking. Or a salesman sees them regularly and starts talking with
them when they need to make a purchase.
Iggy was asking about used machines, IIRC. You really can't write a
sensible RFQ for them. Again, smaller and medium-sized companies, and
dealers, handle substantial used machines about the same way they
handle new ones. You make contact, you start talking, and you put your
heads together to figure out what's really available and what you
The salesmen you're describing don't sound very good. I could have
fixed them, maybe, back when I was managing sales in the machine tool
On Thu, 14 Feb 2013 18:23:24 -0600, Ignoramus30459
That's a good question, and a good attitude. I know some old classics
but I think there's much better stuff out there now. I'd peruse Amazon
and read some reviews. Otherwise, there are associations, like the
American Marketing Association (watch the AMA abbreviation-- it's
doctors, too). They have book lists.
If you can't find what you want, check back. I wrote the sales manual
for Oakite years ago, but if you aren't selling soap and cutting
coolant, you probably want something else. d8-)
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.