Early on in my career I was fortunate that my company hired Lenann McGookey Gardner to conduct sales training with not just our sales team members, but all our operations managers as well. At the time.. Sherri Novak
Vice President Operations – Larkspur Hotels and Restaurants, Larkspur, California

Articles written by Lenann McGookey Gardner are available for print and online publication. To request usage permission, contact 505.828.1788 or email Lenann@YouCanSell.com

Are you LOSING SALES because of PRICE?

What's the biggest objection you face in attempting to close sales? If you're like most people, your answer is "It costs too much!"

All over the world, people who are responsible for selling — whether they're selling professional services or physical products— tell me "This prospect loved what we had to offer. He just didn't have the budget for it!"

Here's an idea for how to think about that objection: You just didn't SELL it!

That's harsh, I know. But it's usually the truth. And if you approach it this way -- from the point of view that your prospect might have purchased from you if you had sold him or her properly — you have at least the hope of selling someone who has problems with your price next time, because you're seeing the problem as a skill that you can learn to do better, rather than something that's out of your control.

I read a study that had been made of corporate purchasing professionals. The people studied were about to make a decision about a major purchase for their companies (and "major purchase" was defined as "more than $50,000"). Each buyer had spoken with several vendors who wanted to make this sale. And the people doing the survey asked these buyers, "What is important to you in choosing a vendor?"

The number one answer they received was "the price". Number 2: the quality. Number 3: a reference to "the people we would work with on this". And number 4: a reference to "when I can get it" — timing of results or delivery.

The most interesting thing in this study is that the researchers went BACK to the buyers AFTER they had made their purchase decisions. They knew the name of the vendor the buyers had selected. And, using the name of the chosen vendor, they posed the question: "Why did you select Acme?"

The answers they received were completely reversed! The number one answer: some reference to "when I can get it" — the results or the delivery. Number 2: something about "the people with whom I will be working on this". Number 3: the quality of the product or service. And number 4: the price!

So what does this tell us? That price is important — everyone says they're concerned about price — but when purchase decisions are made, other things may be more important!

Isn't that true for you, too? I know that, before I buy something, I often say that I have a price in mind — but when I find just the right thing, somehow I find the money!

That's true of many of the people who might buy from you, too. Of course they'll say they have a budget, and many of them do, but when they find just the right thing, they find the money!

So how do we deal with that as salespeople? Some rules:
  1. Deal with price LAST. Any price number, out of the context of what it does for the buyer, is TOO HIGH. Donít be lured into a discussion of price before you learn what you'll be doing for your buyer, and the value of that to him or her.
  2. Never discuss a range of prices, either — and especially not early in a conversation. Have you read the Wall Street Journal's articles about people negotiating the price of a hotel room at the front desk — or the price of clothing while on the selling floor at Saks Fifth Avenue? People have an "everything is negotiable" mentality now. So when you mention a range of prices, they hear the lower number, and they will be negotiating you DOWN from there!
  3. When selling to business people, talk in terms of "the investment" rather than "the price", and whenever possible get your prospect thinking about the return on investment he or she stands to realize from this purchase. Years ago, Zig Ziglar advised us to get our prospect talking about why he would want to own this... and that's good advice today, too.
  4. Understand that there is such a thing as a "true price buyer" — someone who truly is making his or her choice purely based on whatever is the cheapest option. For most of us, that person isn't a prospect for what we have to sell. It's been estimated that true price buyers, however, are less than 10% of the people who are in the market for most products and services. If you're dealing with a true price buyer, and you're not the cheapest option in your industry, walk away!
  5. And never forget the value of up-to-date Sales and Closing Skills training to help you deal with the ever-present price objections that kill sales! Most people need a framework for dealing with objections, and practice in using that framework, to be effective when a prospective buyer says "It costs too much!" And that framework should be based on current sales research about the approaches that work, not old learning.

    Hint: if you're still thinking of "overcoming objections", your sales training is out of date! Objections aren't obstacles to be overcome, they're gifts! Think about it: your prospect is telling you why he or she isn't doing business with you. Most of the time, you don't really know why a prospect didn't do business with you — you just know you didn't make the sale. So someone who tells you why they're not doing business with you is giving you a gift — and if you handle that properly, you may get the sale!

If you or the people with whom you work need help in handling objections, dealing with price issues, or CLOSING, give us a call at 505.828.1788 or email Lenann@YouCanSell.com