One of the most common questions I get from salespeople is that they think they have done everything right during the sales cycle yet their prospective client is still beating them up over price…
One of the laws of the sales jungle is that the client will fixate on the first number we arrive at together during any sales cycle. If price is the first number discussed then the rest of our conversations will be around defending that price and the client will keep asking for more discount. It’s a hideous cycle and if we allow this to happen the client feels good because they are getting a deal yet we don’t feel good since we had to discount too much. Not a win/win.
Given that there can be only one person leading the sales cycle, us or the client, it should always be us. If we do this then when price gets introduced is 100% up to us, right?
So if price can’t be the first number introduced, what should be? Resounding answer is value and by that I mean the positive financial impact to the client that they should achieve by leveraging your company capabilities to solve their specific problems.
The salesperson isn’t actually creating the value, they are uncovering it and connecting their products and solutions (described by the capabilities they enable the client to leverage) to the specific problems the client agrees they have. By the way, done correctly the salesperson should be introducing new problems (by asking questions) to the client that they didn’t realize they need to solve. This is pretty logical, who knows more about the problems you can solve better than your competition, you the salesperson or the client. The answer is the sales person of course. Think of this as teaching the client to better understand all the problems they could be solving by working with you, and not your competition. Once you have all the problems identified and agreed to with the client you get to help them quantify financially what solving each of those problems will be worth to their company, aka value.
By insuring that you, the salesperson who is leading the sales cycle, help the client learn and agree to the value amount first, that is the number they will fixate on. After you have done this you can then “safely” introduce price. Done properly the value should be multiples greater than your selling price and you just also gave yourself a great ROI ratio. Result is win/win.
Leading the sales cycle in this manner will insure that the client sees you as a real consultative resource with whom they want to do business with and you are now selling on value versus having to defend price all the time.
Great selling, Doug.
Doug Von Koenig
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