Question: I am in charge of account acquisition, but every time I try to buy some accounts, someone beats me to it. What am I doing wrong?
Answer: In today’s challenging economy, everybody wants to increase profitability. Purchasing accounts is one of the best ways to do that. But in this market, you need to be ready to move fast.
When the electronics store opens on Black Friday and only has twenty-five $100 Blu-Ray TV sets, you don’t have time to ask questions. The limited supply will be gobbled up while you are looking for a clerk.
I remember my first morning at boot camp in the Marines. The drill instructor brought us to the chow hall and said, “Ready, sit,” and then “Ready, eat.” I had just started looking for the salt and pepper when he yelled, “Get up; get up!” Breakfast was over, and I hadn’t taken a single bite.
I learned when he said, “Ready, eat,” I ate. I kept my mouth moving, gobbling as much food as possible as quickly as possible. He was trying to teach us that, in combat, you eat when you have the chance. You don’t dawdle or worry about condiments.
The same could be said for purchasing accounts. If there’s a lot of demand and little supply, you don’t have time to look for the salt and pepper. You need to ask the basic questions and be prepared to make an offer quickly if the basics look good.
In buying accounts, you need to have your preplanned set of questions readily available, set up a conference call with the seller, and be ready to make an offer if the questions are answered in a suitable manner that fit your criteria.
Remember, when the supply is limited, the time to make a buying decision is also limited. You have to adapt to the situation. If putting in your offer quickly is paramount, then make it a priority. You can complete your due diligence later – and back out if that due diligence does not meet your needs.