What Do Buyers Actually Do?

One of my customer’s salesreps, Tony, was determined to impress upon me how appalled he is with buyers at the moment.  He sells engineering consumables, and his patch breaks down like this:

1600 – prospect companies with potential to buy

370 – customers, outfits that have bought

200 – number of organisations with a designated, ‘professional’ Buyer

So how many of these 200 buyers do you think see all prospective vendors?  Tony explained that “the number of dedicated buyers that say they’re not doing their job unless they religiously see everyone that thinks they have something to offer, and do see them, is only 2”.


Now, we can all think of the argument that if you saw every Tom, Dick & Harry, you’d never get any work done, but come on.  Tony reckons that of the other 99% of buyers, some take back-handers, others buy from friends only and the rest (the majority) shouldn’t be in their jobs.

I wonder what ‘buyers’ consider their role to be?  I’ve only ever come across a couple of Procurement Manager type people.  And I have to say, they exhibited a total lack of vision as to what was genuinely in the business interests of their companies.  The approach can be summed up neatly by the age-old saying ‘knowing the cost of everything, the value of nothing’.

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