Written by Sean McPheat |
The whole economic world has changed in the last few years. It will never be ‘business as usual’ again. Most companies that haven’t adapted to the changes will either no longer exist or will have suffered dramatically.
One thing that many salespeople tell us has risen high on the client’s agenda more than ever before is the concept of value and pricing. Costs have been squeezed until the pips don’t only squeak; they cry out in agony.
It would be strange these days if prospects and clients didn’t ask about the price of your products and services. Gone are the days when the costs incurred were absorbed into the overheads of the buyer’s company. Now, every penny or cent is vetted before being spent.
So, how do you deal with prospects who seem to put the price of your products at the top of the list of priorities when they are making decisions?
There is a very good question you can ask when the customer enquires about your price. It helps you and them to assess the relative importance of the price in their decision-making process. And it identifies what direction you take the rest of the conversation. The question is simple in its execution but profound in the results it obtains.
When the question of price comes up in the conversation, try asking, “Is price your only consideration, or are there more important things that you would consider?”
Now think about what the client’s answer will tell you. If they say “Yes, it’s my only consideration”, then you can weigh up the consequences of going down the ‘cheapest option’ route. You can assess whether you want to beat the competition and lower your price to the cheapest available. You may get the deal there and then. Or they may go back to the competition and ask whether they could match your lowest price.
The price shopper will always want to go cheaper if they can, and you are in danger of being taken to the cleaners by someone who simply wants a transaction and not a service. They may know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.
On the other hand, if they say, “Well, price is very important, but we also have to have speedy delivery and good quality. So, yes, I want good quality and your best delivery terms, but at your cheapest price”.
Now you’ve ‘smoked out’ the real criteria they will be judging your price against. In this example, the customer has confirmed that quality and delivery are foremost in his mind, but he still wants a good price.
You can start by emphasising that quality and delivery are your main concerns, too, and you want to make sure the value you offer is as good as it could be. You can emphasis that your company always wants to maintain their quality standards and that includes offering good delivery terms as well. The prices you offer allow you keep those high standards and cover the quick delivery too.
Here you justify your price, rather than apologising for it. If the client still feels the need to haggle, you can restore their confidence in you by returning to their words, which highlighted things other than price as being more important.
This type of question allows you to see exactly what you’re up against when the issue of price is raised and it shows you how serious they are about getting value from you rather than just seeing how low you will go.
Originally published: 7 May, 2014