3 Ways To Ensure Price Isn’t The Main Criteria For Decision Making

Money on businessman's mindMany salespeople believe that their customer base revolves around the concept of price. That is, price is the be-all and end-all of their decision-making process. Certainly, if they listen to what many of their prospects say, you can understand the reasoning.

Expressions like: “You’ll have to do something with your price before we can even consider this” or “What’s the best deal you can offer me?” or “You competitor offered 25% off list price. How far can you go?” are designed to make the sales person feel they have to concentrate on price before the sale can be advanced in any way.

Actually, you can make sure that price isn’t the main criteria for decision-making in the customer’s mind by building on these three components:

Make sure you know the value of your products and services and how they link to the customer’s business situation. This is the key to creating value and is at the heart of selling with integrity and credibility. A salesperson must understand the departments that are most affected by the solution, and the financial impact of his solution on various departments within the entire company .
Understanding the customer’s critical issues, dissatisfactions, and frustrations, plus recognising the business opportunities that arise from them, takes research, time, commitment, and dedicated work. But it is definitely worth it.

If you’re able to find out information prior to the visit, or on previous visits before you start talking about prices, then you build opportunities for you and the prospect to select other, more credible, ways of achieving their goals and objectives.

Make sure you can help the customer calculate the cost of not using your solution. Before you can offer a remedy, you must be able to firmly establish the results of not using or buying your solution. You must help the customer identify physical symptoms of his problem and show him that multiple departments are suffering. Remember, if there is no pain associated with the current situation, then you’ll find it difficult to move the prospect out of their comfort zone and make the decision to change.

Pain is the most basic human motivator for change. It is the natural defence mechanism that tells people that if they don’t change and deal with a problem, they will face consequences. And of course, change itself is painful. Therefore, change will not occur until an individual or company recognises that the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same.

Tell the prospect the impact of your solution over those of your closest competitors. Make these figures specific.  This is where you should be able to pre-empt all but the most irrational objections. If you can get the customer to recognise that your product will provide a specific financial impact, such as cutting the cost of a critical process or increasing desired revenues, they will realise that your premium pricing makes solid business sense. You get them to identify how the benefits outweigh the costs incurred, especially if they see a competitor’s offer as offering more value to you.

When you quantify the impact of your solution, it will quickly become obvious to your customer that your solution, at your price, makes for a solid business decision. If that is clear to them, it solves he challenge of them having ‘buyer’s remorse’ and helps them persuade other decision-makers who might have a say in the final decision.

Try these three ideas out before the prospect talks specifically about price. It will build the value of choice before their mind goes to think about commoditising your product.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Is A Sales Objection An Unanswered Question?

Business man and cloudWhen we ask buyers what they look for in their suppliers, we often get a response along the lines of ‘we want someone we can trust and makes us look good in some way’.

This is a fairly obvious conclusion, but it begs the question ‘why don’t salespeople recognise this when in the sales process and what can they do to improve the situation’?

Well, one interesting situation occurs during the conversations with prospects when what we sometimes call objections or obstacles are placed in front of us. Many salespeople fear this time because they think they have to ‘overcome’ them and it’s sometimes seen as a battle rather than a continuous building of relationships with the prospect.

What is often puzzling is how some salespeople resort to tricks or techniques to get round objections. They’ll say things like ‘is it me that’s causing the problem?’ so they can make the prospect feel a little guilty.

One way we can think of objections is that really they are just questions that haven’t been answered effectively yet.

Let’s take a few examples:

Objection: “Your price is too high”. That’s a frequent objection we get and often means we haven’t built the value yet.

Unanswered question: “Why should I pay that price and what benefit will I get if I do?” Now that’s a different animal altogether.

Objection: “We’re not interested and don’t really need your product”. For some this is a killer, and we often walk away.

Unanswered question: “How would your product solve my challenges, sort my problems and bring me benefits? What pain does it take away from me?” Ah, now we’re talking…if I’d known you needed proof, I wouldn’t have tried to prescribe and answer before diagnosing your problems.

Objection: “I’m happy with my current supplier, thank you”. Yes, I’m in my comfort zone, so don’t rock the boat, baby!

Unanswered question: “How would my business problems be solved or my potential be realised if I used your services?” Essentially, I need proof that you will be giving me what I need, and I haven’t been persuaded yet.

Objection: “We like you, but we’re going to wait a few months before we buy”. Yes, the old stall method that gets you off my back for a while.

Unanswered question: “What would be the benefits to my business if we started this now rather than later? How much I can gain be doing something now, and how much would I lose if I didn’t?” If I knew what would be best, maybe I’d be better equipped to decide, but currently I’m not.

These are just some examples that show how many objections are really just questions that, if answered effectively, would dissipate into thin air.

So, when you are working with a prospect to help him solve his business problems, be aware of building value in the solutions before you make suggestions as to what they should change. Without sufficient reasons for change, it’s not surprising that prospects will come up with obstacles that stand in our way. Identify the questions that may come up, answer them in your conversations with them, and then proceed toward securing commitment. That way, they will see the benefits without the disadvantages.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

How Do You Respond To ‘Send Me More Information’?

Businessman holding paper with printed question markSo you’ve finally got through to the decision-maker and had some form of conversation with them. They seem interested in what you have to offer. You get a tiny thrill of excitement, as you think this could actually be a sale in the offing.

Then they say those deflating words that make your heart sink. “OK send me a brochure or some info in the post and I’ll take a look”.

There could be many reasons why they want the information. They could genuinely want to know more before they make a decision; they might need to clarify some things before they take it further; they may be comparing other solutions and want the information to make that comparison; or they may be trying to end the call politely, just to get you off the phone.

You may not know at this stage, so it’s important you get some clarification.

Firstly, agree with what they have requested. “I’d be happy to send some information”

This maintains the ‘agreement-frame’ that you will have built up with the prospect.

Next, clarify exactly what information you will be sending. “So I don’t waste your time, exactly what would you like me to send and what will it enable you to do?”

This will help you to know what to send and also why they want it. You’re looking for them to use words like “we want to explore…..achieve…..solve….avoid….secure….”

These action verbs show you they’re serious about what they want to achieve and how the information will help them improve things from their perspective. If they say something along the lines of ‘Just send whatever you’ve got’, be aware this may not be a real need and you may want to probe a little deeper to see if the request is legitimate.

As soon as you’ve ascertained the reason for the request, you can confirm what information you will be sending through and also what the prospect will be doing with it. It also gives you a reason for calling back. It could go something like;

“OK, I’ve got some valuable information along with some testimonials that will help you in making your decisions, Mr Prospect. I’ll put it in tonight’s post to you, first-class. Let’s assume you’ve looked through the information. What will your next steps be?”

This confirms the tasks you will carry out and by when they should receive the information. It also helps you assess the next stages and determines the level of interest of the prospect. You can confirm what your next stages will be, so the prospect will be expecting your follow-up call or email.

Gaining commitment to the next stage is important here, as you don’t want to just send out information for the sake of it. That’s costly and could raise hopes when none really exist.

You need to identify the opportunities and show that you exist as a potential partner rather than just a possible supplier.

Depending on the prospect’s answer to your ‘next steps’ question, you can determine the level of interest and highlight what will happen next.

Something like, “Naturally, you’ll have questions related to the information, so I’d like to give you the opportunity to have those questions answered. If we schedule a call this time next week for a no-obligation assessment, we can see how this solution could fit in with your needs” could be a good step forward.

So, clarify why the prospect wants the information, specify exactly what they want it for so you can send the correct details, identify what they will be doing with the information and then plan the follow-up. This process will give you the best chance of success after the prospect has made a simple request.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Here Is One Interesting Way To Deal With An Objection…

hypnotistOften in a meeting, you’ll get to the point where the prospect brings up an objection. This is the point where the disadvantages of your solution or concerns they have about it outweigh the benefits they would get from choosing it.

Many salespeople at this point would handle the objection and move on. But there’s an interesting technique that might seem at first counter-intuitive, but actually works well.

It involves asking for more objections. What you’re looking for is to get all the objections you can get, hence clearing out the minefield that might be lurking in the customer’s mind.

The advantage of this is that you now know all the reasons they have for not buying and can decide what to do about them.

For example, if they bring up the issue of price and you then start dealing with it, you may have dealt with that one specific issue and think there’s nothing now to stop you from progressing. But then they bring up another objection, and you have to go through the whole ordeal of dealing with that one too. This could go on and on.

However, you want to approach the situation from the mindset of joint problem-solving. That is, you want to be on their side and help them see how their objection is justified in their eyes and see what can be done about them.

You do this by asking questions like, “Are there any other reasons why you are not yet ready? Is there anything else that is stopping you from going ahead? There appears to be more concerns than you have raised here…what else might be on your mind?”

This now gives you the opportunity to bring out exactly what might be on the mind of the customer, and you can approach them from the right direction.

After hearing the customer out, you could respond with something like, “So, you’re concerned about the pricing structure for the orders you are thinking of making, and you want the deliveries to be made to more branches than we originally quoted for. Plus, you’re not sure about our credit terms and whether they are the best we could offer. Have I got that right?”

This shows a number of things. Firstly, you’ve really listened to their concerns; then, you’ve highlighted the main ones and simplified them in language you both can identify with; and then you’ve confirmed that your understanding is correct by checking back with them.

Now you’re in a position to deal with these situations as a complete package rather than having to deal first with the pricing structure, then the delivery issues and finally the credit terms separately, which would have been the case if you had dealt with them individually.

It may be that you can link the pricing structure to the credit terms discussion, leaving the issue of deliveries until you’ve agreed on the principles of value for the products.

The benefits are that you can see the big picture much clearer when everything is out in the open instead of having to deal with them one at a time.

Try it and see if it works for you. You may find you are able to deal with any objections in a much more efficient and effective way.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Objections: Why They Occur & How You Can Prevent Them In The First Place

ID-10088853 (2)If there is one question that occurs the most on our sales programmes, it has to revolve around dealing with objections. Many delegates say that if they could just have the magic wand to overcome objections, they would love their job. But because salespeople allow objections to be raised in the first place, they face the uphill task of having to deal with them head-on.

In fact, think of the language used when referring to objections; ‘deal with them’, ‘overcome them’, get round them’, ‘blast through them’. Boy, it sounds like a real battle before you even start!

Why do they occur? Easy, really. It’s because the decision-maker cannot realistically see the value or worth of buying over the price that is being charged.

The equation is simple: V minus P

Here, V = Value and P = Price. For the decision to be made in your favour, perceived value in the buyer’s eyes has to be greater than the price or cost of making that choice.

Remember, value is in the eye of the buyer, so if one person thinks that item is worth the price and another doesn’t, the difference in viewpoint will affect the decision.

For example, how much would you pay for a small bottle of water?

You might consider £1 to be the right price for it. If it was £10, the ‘worth’ in your eyes is greatly diminished.

But if you were dying of thirst in the desert, and had £10 in your pocket, would the ‘worth’ to you now go up? Of course.

So, how can you tell what is most valuable to a prospect and how can you overcome what might be potential objections later in the conversation?

Well, questions are the answer. Find out what criteria the decision-maker will be using to make their mind up when the time comes. If you are able to identify this and you know it may be an issue later on, you can prevent it before it actually comes up.

Let’s take an example: You discover that budget is a key issue for the prospect you are talking with. You determine that your solution may be a little higher in price than the prospect wants to pay. You can prevent what might be an objection against your price by saying something like:

“We discussed earlier how you want the widget to last a long time and how reliability is really important to you. We also talked about how much it costs to repair your current widget every time it breaks down.

If we were able to cut all those costs and improve the reliability at a stroke, do you think it would be worth looking at? As you said, repairs are costing around £1500 per year. Our solution will save you that and take away the worry of further costs in the future, especially with our optional extended warranty”

What has this immediately done? It has raised the value of your solution in the customer’s mind, so he is more likely to accept a higher price. Remember V minus P?

If the value has been raised in their mind, the objection that you might have expected about your higher price won’t be an objection anymore, as the prospect sees how much better off they would be with your solution, especially as they won’t have to pay out the continuous repair costs that would have been grating for him.

If you are able to face the objections head-on, and highlight them before they are raised, they cease to become the obstacles they might have been and actually create opportunities for you to highlight how the product or service can be more beneficial in the long-run.

Value is in the eye of the buyer. Build that value up, so when a potential objection could be raised, the potential benefits can outweigh any drawbacks.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com
(Image by adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

 

Handling Objections – Infographic

One of the biggest hurdles facing sales people is the objection raised from the prospect. Using the tactics in our infographic below, handling objections will now be a doddle!

TO DOWNLOAD THE FULL SIZE INFOGRAPHIC PLEASE CLICK HERE

(Image by MTD Sales Training – please attribute if republished)

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

 

The Best Question To Ask When A Prospect Rejects Your Price

It happens every day in most sales interactions.

You’re having a great conversation with the prospect, building up value and creating real desire in their minds for your solution. They seem to be interested in what you’re saying, and you have great confidence you’re going to make the sale.

Then they ask about the price.

You confidently give the price of this model they are enquiring about. Then the age-old response comes along…

“That’s more than I wanted to pay….!”

Now, this response is as old as the hills, the reason they say it is just as old, and the response most salespeople give is just as doddery on its feet.

Most responses go something like “How much were you looking to pay?” or “What figure did you have in mind?” or even the awful “What do I have to do with the price to get your business?”

There’s one question that will help you to progress this discussion in a much fairer way for both of you. It will aid you in knowing the direction you need to go, and aid the prospect to be clearer in their mind on what needs they have to be considered.

The best question you can ask goes something like “When you say ‘that’s more than I wanted to pay’…does that mean it’s more than you wanted to pay for THIS product, or it’s more than you wanted to pay, period?”

What this clarifies for you and them is whether the amount is too high for the product you are showing and they are probably asking to negotiate for a discount on it, or whether the amount you are asking is too high for them under any circumstances, and the product is not right for them.

If it’s the first reason, then you can identify once again the value they are getting from the product (how much money or time it will save them in the long run, etc) so they see the actual price is less than the overall costs involved.

If it’s the second reason, then you can identify a different product in your portfolio that might suit them for the money they want to invest.

Either way, you get clear in your mind what their relationship is to the price of your products and services.

So, find out whether their decision is attached to the product or their wallet, and then you will identify the way forward in the sale.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

How To Progress An Indecisive Prospect

One of the most difficult conversations you’ll probably have is the one where the prospect can’t make their mind up, is indecisive or doesn’t know how to make a commitment.

Mainly, it’s down to fear of failure, or of making a mistake that will come back and haunt them later.

It’s a natural reaction, because who in their right mind wants to fail or be seen as a failure? Their indecisiveness is a logical reaction to a situation that is causing them some measure of pain. In many situations, whatever decision they make may have difficulties associated with it; if they say yes, it will cost them a lot of money…if they say no, it may cost them a lot of pain. What to do?

This dilemma is one that will not be sorted if you just sit there in silence. Nor will it resolve itself if you just ask patronising questions like ‘Have I explained everything?’ or ‘Shall we go over the offer again?’

No, the best way to deal with this is to actually raise the painful issues yourself. Risky? Maybe. Effective? Definitely.

Firstly, identify what might be the most difficult challenge in the sales process is going to be. Is it a price issue? How about delivery? Is it purely to changes that the prospect will have to go through in order to decide on your solution?

Whatever it is, or potentially might be, that’s stopping them from making a decision to move forward, bring it up yourself.

Put yourself in the shoes of the prospect identify what it is that is holding them back and then bring it up in the conversation. If there’s a problem that the prospect isn’t bringing up for a variety of reasons (e.g. they don’t know how to express the fear, they have a concern of looking cheap in your eyes if they ask for discounts, they haven’t the confidence to make a decision, etc) then you should have the courage to bring it out into the open so that you and they can make progress. You can use ideas similar to these:

“To be honest with you, I’m concerned about the price here. I’m unsure whether it’s right for you. What do you think?”

“I know we’ve spoken about how the programme will work, but I’m not sure it will fit into your schedules as things stand. Do you share the same thoughts?”

” Here’s something I’m not sure about. We’re trying to make sure this is the right plan for you and your family, and I’m not sure we’ve hit the right note here. Do you agree?”

” Although the solution looks good, I think there’s a challenge on how we are going to roll this out to the other decision makers. Do you share that concern too?”

By raising the possible stumbling block yourself, you get it out in the open and the ‘elephant in the room’ is uncovered. Whatever the challenges, by bringing them up yourself, you get the prospect feeling that this weight has been lifted and you can now start addressing the issues in front of you.

The alternative is that the prospect continues to hide the real reasons for holding back and you never actually get to the hub of the matter. They may just say they need time to think it over, then when you follow up with phone calls and emails, things go strangely quiet from their end.

I’m sure you’d much rather understand and clarify the real issues in the prospect’s mind so that you can address them immediately, rather than walking on egg shells trying to see if the solution could be shoe-horned into the existing situation.

By bringing up the potent ion blockage ourselves, we get a much better sense of where we are with the prospect, and can take the initiative in progressing the sale to its natural conclusion.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image by D Dpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)