8 Experts to Help You find the Best Vendor and Best Solution

Here are some Expensive Sentences® that could cost you time and money:

“There don’t seem to be any good vendors out there for this…”

“It’s hard to know what solution would be best for us…”

Whether it’s a home remodeling project, help with accounting, a new software module, a consulting engagement, a research study, or anything else that you haven’t bought ten times before… you are likely to have questions about the best path forward. You may even have anxiety, afraid to make the wrong choice in who you buy from (vendor) or how they deliver (solution).

Here’s some good news: expertise is abundant.

Not only that, but it’s generally free. You just have to ask.

 

Learning from the Experience of Others

If you’re stuck finding the right solution or vendor, don’t stay stuck. Follow these three steps: First define your problem and your goal. Second, acknowledge the fact that it’s not a new problem or a new goal.

Third, reach out to an expert to borrow their experience. To make it easy, here’s a list of eight people to call and an opening line for each conversation: 

One – a vendor who doesn’t solve the problem: “I know you guys aren’t in this business, but you’ve seen a lot in the industry and I trust your opinion.”

Two – a competitor: “Obviously we’re not going to share any trade secrets, but I wondered if this was an area where we might compare notes.”

Three – an admired company in different industry – find someone with your title at their company on LinkedIn, and call: “It looks like there’s some overlap in our responsibilities, and we look up to your company, I was wondering how you guys handle [problem x].”

Four – A salesperson from a company who solves the problem: “We’re not sure where we are headed but I was hopeful you could educate me on your take of this problem.”

Five – a consultant who has worked with problem: “Can you share what you’ve seen at your prior clients, and what approach might work best?”

Six – an association rep: “I’m sure some of your members are facing a similar issue, and I was wondering whether there might be a good person to talk to.”

Seven – a Chamber of Commerce Rep – whether you’re a member or not, they will be helpful: “Do you have members who have expertise in this area?”

Eight – a friend from a former employer“Who was it that handled this kind of thing? Could you help me connect with them and ask a few questions?”

 

You may be thinking, aren’t some of these people biased?

No… ALL of them are biased, and all have limited perspective. That’s why you need to choose three of the eight to talk to.

For extra credit, make a FOURTH call and you’ll be in for a surprise: you’ll be the expert.

Here’s an out: if you’re looking for a shortcut or want to talk more about the right solution or vendor, call me. 703.944.9676.

Best, Jack.

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