October 9, 2013
Your customer says how they would like to buy from you, but your price is simply too high. How many times have we heard this in one form or another?
Immediately upon hearing something like this, the natural tendency is to suddenly respond with some sort of an option. The option might be a different package or a lower price, but in nearly every situation when a salesperson hears this, the next thing out of their mouth implies discount.
The reaction we should take when we hear a customer push back on price is to simply stay calm and be cautious in what is said next. First, you must determine if the person with whom you are interacting at that moment even has the ability to buy and is willing to buy now. Far too much time is wasted messing around with price with customers who are either not capable of buying or have no intention of buying.
Long before you reach the point of putting an offer on the table with the customer, you must determine if they are qualified and willing to buy now. The easiest way to do this is by asking them a question like, “How have you made decisions like this before?” This will help reveal if they have the authority to make the purchase.
Next, you must determine if they’re going to buy now. This is best done also during the discovery phase of the sales call. The key is to listen for the customer to share with you a time-sensitive need they have. If the customer has not shared with you a time-sensitive need, then there is no reason for you to believe they need to make a decision now. The more urgent the customer’s need is, the less focused they will be on price. If you can’t uncover a time driven need, then you want to help create one for the customer.
Example of this might be to discuss with the customer the cost savings they would receive from using what you offer – and the sooner they buy, the sooner they can start reaping the benefits. Your focus during the discovery phase is not only to raise awareness of a customer’s need, but also to do so in a way that heightens their desire to buy sooner rather than later.
Knowing if the customer has the ability to buy and if they have a time-sensitive need will provide you some leverage. However, it certainly doesn’t provide enough leverage to get around the customer who has the need to buy, but also has a lower-price offer from one of your competitors.
For this person, you need to put your focus on calling out to the customer the most critical need they have identified for you. The optimal way to do is by asking a question regarding the need. An example of this might be if the customer has shared with you a key need they have as in being able to meet a deadline for a new building to be ready to move in by a certain date. Asking a question such as, “What happens if the building is not ready to go in two weeks?” The objective of your question is to get the customer to realize the pain they will incur if their needs are not met. Your response should then be one that builds on their need.
One of the best strategies for dealing with the issue of price is to not address it head on, but rather to focus on the needs of the customer. If you too quickly start negotiating on price, you will never get the discussion off price – until the customer has won and you’ve given in. With that being the case, it only makes sense to try and win the sale based on the needs of the customer, not on price!
This is one of the biggest reasons I place so much value on the discovery phase of the sales call. The only time you will find out good information is during the discovery phase when the customer is more relaxed. If you wait and try to uncover the needs of the customer and the timeline they have for making a decision after price is at the forefront of the conversation, you will never find out the truth about their real needs.