Buyers fight you on price, try these 7 techniques
VALUE ADDED SELLING 21
Business 2 Publishing
Business intelligence for 21st-century sales professionals.
by Roy Alexander and Charles Roth
Most people agree the best way to avoid being beaten down on price is to keep your customer’s eyes fixed on the superior value you offer.
But sometimes, faced with dogged price objections, you need more than just another statement about your value. You need specific techniques for defending your price.
THE PRICE YOU WANT
That’s what we want to discuss here: seven ways you can overcome buyer price objections and close the sale at the price you want.
You may find that using just one of them will do the trick – or if
1. LINK COST TO THE BUYER’S PRIME NEED
Of course, the price you’ve quoted is what you have to charge to meet the buyer’s needs and make a decent profit for your organization.
But buyers may forget this in the heat of the moment. Sometimes they’ve gotten into the habit of haggling (other, less competent salespeople may have encouraged them), or they want to look like skilled negotiators.
If they tell you, “That’s just too expensive,” an effective way of getting them back on course is to say something like this: “No problem, we can work on that.
Here s the list of your needs you said we had to meet. What can we eliminate to reduce the budget?” This way, you’ll remind them of what
In this regular feature, a star salesperson explains how he or she made a real-life sale, overcoming price objections, buyer inertia, tenacious competitors and other obstacles.
But before I left, I asked they needed and what it costs to get it. And if I they decide at this stage that they can do I without certain features, that’s OK, too..
2. ENHANCE THEIR SECURITY
A buyer who on the the objection is especially knotty, you may have to break out two or three surface objects to price may actually be objecting to something else: risk.
If you feel this is happening, your best response is to do something to create trust – to allow the buyer to tell herself, “If I don’t like it or it doesn’t work, the seller will make it right. How can I go wrong?”
Money-back guarantees where appropriate, comprehensive warranties, and trial periods all may help create this kind of trust.
If your organization doesn’t already provide security blankets like these, you may want to ask your sales manager whether you can negotiate one or more of them as needed.
3. TAKE BLAME AWAY
It may be the buyer understands very well why your price is what it is. But it never hurts to take the stance that you’ve given insufficient information. That puts the blame for the impasse on you, not the buyer.
You could say: “I’m sorry I failed to make the point clear,” or “Either I or our service people may not have given you all the facts.”
4. MAKE A CONVERSATIONAL CONCESSION
Example: “Yes, the price is higher than what you pay now. But you’re getting additional (list benefits).”
Or: “Normally what you say is true, but with our service we’ve eliminated the problems of competing systems. That’s worth something, right?”
5. AGREE THAT OTHERS FELT THE SAME WAY
This is a powerful technique that you prepare in advance, by soliciting testimonials from happy customers.
It might go like this: “The manager at Hard Software said the same thing about the price at first. But let me show you a photo of his present installation. It saved him $25, 000 the first month.”
6. COMPLIMENT THEIR IDEA
This technique is a means of meeting price objections obliquely, rather than head-on.
Suppose the buyer, prior to making a price objection, has insisted on the need for safety in his operation.
You track back and say: “I admire your concern for safety, and I agree it’s a big factor. Let’s see how the service I ‘ve just priced out for you can speed up your operation and continue to be safe for the workers.”
7. GET ON THE BUYER’S SIDE
Nothing dispels objections better than the customer’s perception that you’re on her side.
You can start creating this perception by responding to a price objection like
this: “I see what you mean. That does appear to be a problem. Let’s see how we can work this out.”
Then you need to come forward with a concrete solution.
Send me something
by Teri Gamble and Michael Gamble
Send me some literature,” or its modern-day cousin, “Send me an e-mail.” What do you do when a prospect says one of these things? Is it a blow-off to be punctured or a
sincere request to be honored?
You don’t really know at the time of the conversation, although you may get a feeling or suspicion from other signals. (And when “just” comes in – as in “just send me…..- that’s a pretty clear sign of a dismissive attitude, we’ve found.)
To dig beneath the surface of this kind of request, you need a response that will qualify it. Here are three useful ones:
•’Faster to meet.’ This emphasizes the prospect’s convenience. You say: “I wish the literature told the whole story. You’ll be able to evaluate our product a lot faster by meeting with me, and it’ll take just 15 minutes or so.”
• ‘Unfair to both.’ This seeks to create common cause for you and the prospect. You say: “Doing that would be unfair to both of us. The literature/e-mail may raise key questions that I could easily answer. You’ll have a much clearer picture of the benefits our product delivers if we meet for just 15 minutes.”
• ‘Interested or not interested.’ This draws on your experience. You say: “When someone asks me to send literature instead of making an appointment, I find one of two things: Either the person is very interested in what I have to share and wants to know all about it, or the person isn’t at all interested and is asking me to send literature as an easy way to tell me that. So I don’t waste any of your time, which applies to you?
Why you want to know what ‘time zone’ your prospect is in
by Skip Miller
When your prospects think about their needs, they’re considering the past, the present or the future.
It stands to reason that if you match their “time zone,” you’ve got a better chance of making the sale.
Let me explain.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Sometimes a prospect’s decision about whether to buy from you is all about the past. He’s trying to make up for something he, or someone in the organization, did that didn’t work out as planned. Or he’s trying to get something back up to speed, or catch up to a standard.
Then there are decisions about the present. These aim to take advantage of a present opportunity or a scheduled event that’s close at hand.
Decisions about the future are strategic. They’re relatively few and far between compared with the two previous categories, but they can involve even more money. The issue is whether the prospect will invest now to save time and/or money later.
THE DOMINANT ZONE
How do you know which time zone dominates your prospect’s thinking?
Look for clues in statements like these:
“We’re pretty interested in your solution. The thing is, we’ve tried three other options that didn’t work out. We need to get production back on track.” (past)
“Whatever system we choose, it will be critical to the launch of a key new
product line in about six months.” (future)
•”Our biggest competitor has just incurred a huge production delay due to unexpected maintenance, and we need to ramp up quickly.” (‘Present)
MULTIPLY YOUR CHANCES
So far, so good. You’ve recognized the time zone your prospect is operating from, and you’ve described your product or service to fit that past, present or future orientation.
But your very best chances of success come when you situate yourself in multiple time zones. That way, you offer the prospect a wide range of added value.
So if the prospect is thinking strategically, for instance, you should address his future needs but also show him how your product will help in the short run. Or if the prospect is fixated on recovering from a past snafu, help her grasp how your service will benefit her in the future.
Here are some questions you can ask to detect a prospect’s time zone orientation:
• “Why do you need this right now?”
• “What’s happened that’s causing the
decision to be made at this time?”
• “Is this the most important need you can see over the next six months to a year?”
• “Do you see how this will look once we have it installed?”
• “What’s at the top of the list, and what’s causing this to get so much attention?”
Presentation by walking around
by Michael Boylan
Great salespeople are always looking for ways to make their presentations more lively and interesting.
If you’re in that mode now, here’s a method you may want to consider:
Instead of building one more “talking head” PowerPoint presentation, try putting it on a series of flip charts – one key theme to a chart.
Hanging the horseshoe
Hang the flip charts around the walls of the meeting room in a horseshoe shape, and fold each chart up to the top so it can’t be seen.
When the attendees are settled in their seats, walk around and unveil each flip chart in turn as you discuss each for a minute or two.
This style of presentation kinetically energizes both the presenter and the audience – the former by her progress around through the room and the latter by the small movements they have to make to turn and look at each chart.
Everybody’s participation quotient is much higher than if they’d simply been sitting watching slides go by. And once the flip charts are all uncovered, attendees can see the whole thing at once, something that’s not possible with a slide presentation.
Questions come faster, and the overall tone is livelier than with a standard slide presentation.
Tip: Make sure to uncover all the flip charts by the time you’re a third of the way through the presentation. This will keep people’s attention, and leave more time for questions and any supplementary explanations your audience may want.
WHY YOU WANT TO GIVE
You’re proud of being an expert in your field: sales. But it’s important to remember that your customers – not you – are the experts in their field.
Nothing turns an already successful prospect off like a salesperson blowing in and explaining how the prospect can become successful. Sure, you wouldn’t do that, but there are subtler ways that salespeople imply they know what’s going on better than the customer.
To avoid this: Compliment new prospects on their success. You might say, “I’m conscious of how well this company is doing. I’m here to explain how we can help you do even better.”
Source: “Exceptional Selling,” by Jeff Thu/l. John Wiley & Sons.
HELPING PROSPECTS OVERCOME FEAR OF CHANGE
Next time a prospect shows reluctance to change suppliers, try something like this: “I wouldn’t ask you to change to us for the sake of change. That’s silly. But I understand that four years ago, you were with a different supplier from your current one. So when you changed to your current supplier you must have gained benefit for your business. Isn’t it possible changing to us might add further value?”
Caution: This approach can backfire if prospects have been with their current supplier for a long time.
Source: “Red-Hot Sales Negotiations. ” by Paul Goldner and Peter McKeon. AMA COM
USE THE RIGHT WORDS CUSTOMERS THEIR PROPS TO GENERATE P.M.A.
Everybody wants to maintain a positive mental attitude. It’s a must if you’re going to resist the emotional buffeting that the world of sales often hands out.
But do you know how to talk to yourself to generate that P.M .A.?
Some folks say to themselves at the beginning of the day, “I will have a great day today.” Wrong! When your brain hears that, it concludes, “I don’t have to do anything right now. The message is about the future.”
But if you say, “It’s a great day today,” your brain hears present tense and gets working on making it a great day. Similarly, tell yourself “Success comes to me easily,” not “Success will come to me easily.” And so forth.
Source: “The Ultimate Sales Machine,” by Chet Holmes. Portfolio.
THE CUSTOMER IS NEVER COMPLETELY WRONG
Sometimes a customer comes back at you with a complaint or quibble that’s so off the wall, so wrong-headed, that you’re tempted to dismiss it entirely.
Don’t. Although the customer isn’t always completely right, she’s never completely wrong either.
Keep an open mind and a receptive demeanor. A customer’s beef always contains some element of reality – as they see it – that can mirror back where your organization needs to improve.
Source: “91 Mistakes Smart Salespeople Make, “by Tim Connor Sourcebooks.