Amazon Travel Ban, 80s Procurement Launches & Your New Normal First Meeting

Amazon’s CFO made a striking claim during their 3rd-quarter earnings call at the end of October, 2020.

The company had saved $1bn by outlawing non-essential travel in those initial six months of the pandemic.

A billion dollars.

It gained swift progress around the community of corporate counters of beans.

Notwithstanding the contexts that their coronavirus costs supposedly dwarfed this saving and that much travel was prohibited from governmental levels, as (final?) re-openings may appear tantalisingly close yet still out of reach, how much will similar eye-catching savings appeal to the person holding your Expenses strings?

There is much devil in this detail.

What travel is Essential? Or for the rest, Non-Essential?

The added conundrum, is that prospects may never make it back into their offices themselves.

The precise proportion being a whole new question.

There’s certainly going to be less of, ‘I was just in the area and thought I’d pop in…’

I myself three decades back witnessed big ticket procurements kick-off with a general presentation to a roomful of possible suppliers.


Self-considered Alphas jostling for who could ask the best question. Yet not their very best. As they didn’t want to gift the adjacent competition a trick they’d otherwise have missed.

Spending more time watching opposition individuals in the audience than concentrating on the stage. Akin to preparing a pre-lekking pounce, awaiting weakness.

The buyer thought they were saving themselves a whole load of time.

Yet after, everyone invited duly insisted they’d need a personal hearing in order to commit to a bid.

Rendering envisaged time and effort savings hopelessly unachieved.

Yet might the virtual equivalent become the norm for spec-driven buying projects?

Your first sight of a competitive bid being a presentation screened live to your laptop. Then questions taken from those in attendance, in alphabetical order, without visual presence of their own.

You suspect that similar post-match carnage will involve a crush to gain as many one-on-one zoom calls as possible. The higher the level the better, naturally. Quickly after the initial meeting ends.

As I’ve blogged before lately, this is actually a wonderful selling opportunity. Even when saving interminable hours of oft-hated commute, buyer time will likely still be rationed. Yet to unpick this lock you have a key. And that is all those people that don’t normally get involved on a bid. Which now can. With your shepherding.

The skill in solution selling remains in matching each with their appropriate rank prospect-side.

Not forgetting mapping your uniques to their (newly) non-negotiables, and adapting your process by quickly building on what works to ensure you prevail overall.

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