August 27, 2013
In the sales profession, one of the touchiest subjects is price. I rarely run into a salesperson or sales manager who does not want to discuss price. Arguments are varied, but in the end they are centered on one core contention: The price point is a big reason for lost sales.
The argument of price preventing sales is simply bogus. What it comes down to is salespeople are afraid of price. Yes, they’re afraid! They’ve built up a huge defense mechanism to allow themselves to believe the reason they’re not more successful is because of price.
Despite their attempts to paint price as the nemesis, price really is not the issue. The issue is salespeople don’t want to admit their own weakness in providing the customer a proposition focused on the customer’s desired outcomes. The salesperson has not established the price/value relationship in the mind of the customer, and instead of admitting this and trying to improve, the salesperson just resorts to “price” as an excuse.
When put that way, it’s fairly simple to comprehend, isn’t it? But, I can take it even further: Salespeople are afraid because not only have they never believed in their price, they also don’t have an ounce of confidence in their entire sales process.
If price is the reason a customer will or won’t buy, then there is no reason to have salespeople. In place of salespeople, a company should have order takers or nothing more than an on-line ordering system. Why keep paying salespeople for something that doesn’t require their expertise?
Successful salespeople, on the other hand, recognize and embrace what it means to engage the customer enough to understand what the person needs and wants. To achieve this requires the salesperson be patient and adept at questioning and listening. They must purposely not get into a price discussion until the appropriate time.
Salespeople who are afraid of price haphazardly let price enter the discussion way too early. They do this because the customer asks what the price is, and the salesperson is compelled to answer the question immediately. Nothing kills more sales than allowing price to become the center of the sales discussion too early in the process.
Just because a customer asks about the price doesn’t mean the salesperson has to give it to them. When the salesperson lacks confidence, they tend to jump to extremes as soon as the customer asks about price.
To condition salespeople to resist this urge, sales management must take an active role in minimizing the fear about price. It’s no wonder that so many salespeople are afraid of price when they’ve never had adequate support and training.
Here are 4 Ways to Deal with the Fear of Price:
1. Management must embrace and support the price.
If a sales manager doesn’t believe in a price, then why should their salespeople believe in it? The attitude and approach of the sales management is absolutely vital to how a salesperson feels about the price. If you are in sales management, look closely at the tone and content of your conversation when discussing the price of your company’s products and services.
2. Salespeople must have a solid understanding as to why the price is the price.
This means they need to know the benefits and outcomes a customer receives when buying the product/service. Price should not be established based upon the cost of the item. This gets a lot of salespeople into trouble. Basing on cost alone will always undermine the profit potential of a product.
3. Salespeople must be trained on how to handle the price question when it comes up on a sales call.
Price should not be part of any sales discussion until the customer has shared at least 3 needs they have or benefits they desire. Also, salespeople must be able to recognize if the customer is ready to make a buying decision. Discussing price before these aspects have happened during the call will be damaging.
4. Salespeople must be confident in their selling skills, including communicating the price with clarity and eye contact.
A confident voice and eye contact are key factors in how believable the spoken words are. A salesperson who struggles with this must practice it repeatedly by looking into a mirror and/or with a colleague. If they do this, then it will feel natural to speak in an unwavering voice and to maintain eye contact with the customer.
The above four steps will greatly diminish fear among your sales team when it comes to price. I cannot emphasize enough how crucial this is to the success of your company and your salespeople as individuals.
No salesperson should ever allow price to be the reason a customer either buys or does not buy.