If price comes into the sales conversation too early the result is an unsatisfied customer, an unhappy salesperson or no sale at all. Here are 5 mistakes that commonly lead to this. Find out how to avoid them to become a better salesperson.
Not knowing the customer
As salespeople we tend to rush our processes. We don’t prepare properly. We don’t know our potential clients. We go in half cocked. We’re on the back foot from the start. The client knows and senses this. We’ve given them the negotiating advantage. They go in for the kill. The sale dies. Over dramatizing? Maybe, but the client subconsciously takes control. Once this happens their first or second question usually sounds the death knell for the sale – “How much?” You cannot recover from this.
Lack of sales process
A lot of companies don’t have sales processes. Sellers are regarded as ‘free spirits’ who are equally happy to accept this freedom. This is really odd because elite salespeople DO have very clear processes. A first meeting should ideally consist of information gathering and a general understanding of what the client has done, what the client is doing and what they want to do. This structure, this scaffolding, leads the conversation away from product and price. Price is never mentioned. Using a well structured selling process will ensure this, helping to build a sale with a strong foundation and the potential for long term mutual benefits.
Wanting to talk about product
Without process or structure, 98.6 per cent of salespeople product dump in the first meeting. Customers sense the salesperson has only the sale in mind rather than a desire to help the customer by understanding their needs. As salespeople we do this because if we are not talking about ourselves, we talk about our company or our product. Without process or structure to guide us or trust in, it’s the easiest thing for us to do. We are excited about our products and it’s natural to want to share. Don’t product dump. Don’t do it. If you can’t go cold turkey preventing this, start being aware of when you’re doing it. That’s a great start.
The client goes to price straight away
We all know this happens. The customer just wants to know price. I respect that. I do it a lot myself. You probably do too. As clients, we believe we have a better idea of what we want than the salesperson. We don’t need to ask anything other than: “How much and how much discount can I get”. There is only one way round this: You have to ask questions. I recently went to an Apple store to buy the new Apple Pro. I believed I needed a $160 cable to get it to work with my existing set up so asked if I could get a discount. The salesperson responded with a question. They wanted to know what I was using now, how I used it and what I wanted to achieve with it. After listening he said, “You don’t need this product”. He then took me to a different product. It cost less, did more, allowed me to do what I wanted to more effectively and as a result I bought it. That’s a prime example of what I’m talking about: asking questions, deepening understanding and gaining customer trust and loyalty.
Not knowing the value proposition of their OWN product
The amount of salespeople I meet who do not know how great their product is shocks me. To sell well you have to know why your product is really good. You have to know it inside out so you can identify its true worth to each client goal. You have to use it yourself to be confident in it. You have to know who your raving fans are. I met a CRM company that did not use their product, a training company that did not train their team and a marketing company that did cold calling to get leads. It’s astounding how we actually underestimate the power of our own products. This is easily rectified through: usage, company culture and training. You need to believe in and be passionate about your product to excel at selling.
There you go…
So there you go, 5 simple solutions to avoid selling on price: know your customer, get a process, don’t product dump, ask good quality open questions, learn and love your product. Easy to write, I know. It’s harder to change habits. But keep these 5 ideas in your mind. Repeat them every day. Keep trying. Your approach and your attitude can, and will change. At SchiffmanMorrisonAsia and SchiffmanVT we’re all about helping you make these changes day by day. See how you get on. Let me know if it works for you.
CEO SchiffmanMorrison Asia, Co-founder SchiffmanVT