Help Prospects Focus on Value First

by WOHe

In today’s world of “I want it now,” our customers are caught up
in several “I want it nows.”‘

“I want an appointment now! they say. ” I want your drawings
now! I want it installed now! I want the price now!” Notice,
though, that I didn’t include, “Tell me about the benefits of your
products and services now.” Today’s consumers just don’t have the
time to listen to you, or watch you demonstrate and prove the value
in your offering.

So, what do you do?’

There is a way to work with the consumer who wants prices before
knowledge. I believe you can improve your closing percentage and
protect your gross margins by creating value before giving
prices.

You need to ensure that you don’t earn price objections by not
doing a good job of creating value. If the customer asks early in
your sales process what the price will be, try to deflect the
question. Some suggest you act as if you don’t hear it and stay
focused on selling the benefits. Be sure to note that while this
may work for you once, if you are asked a second time, ignoring the
question might discourage the prospect.

When asked about the price, you might respond with a statement
such as, “I appreciate you wanting to know the cost, but I can’t be
fair to you without getting some additional information. Will that
be all right?” This disarms the price question by showing your
desire to be fair to the customer. Since the customer almost always
answers yes to this inquiry, it allows you to present more
information before getting into a price discussion.

Following are some statements you may find beneficial when you
want to defer disclosure of the price:

  • “Before we get to pricing, let me show you some design concepts
    in our newest display.”
  • “I appreciate your question about the price, but why don’t we
    first cover what type of budget you have been considering.”
  • “Asking the price is a fair question. However, let me get a
    little further along with our design concept and product choice
    consideration that will save time for both of us. Then the
    information I pass on to you will be more accurate.”

Still, there are times when, rather than dancing around the
question of cost, the customer deserves to know. For example, the
customer asks, “About how much would this cost?” as he or she is
looking at a specific kitchen display. While your answer might be,
“All of the cabinets in this display would require an investment of
approximately $8,000,” you must clarify your answer by adding,
“however, that includes all of the moulding and the specialty
cabinets. I believe you would enjoy some of the added benefits of
these specialty cabinets.” This allows you to keep selling.

The key to any selling situation is realizing that you’re likely
to be asked early on about the price. I suggest you prepare and
practice an inventory of answers ahead of time so that you are not
scrambling for responses.

Word power
It’s also important to understand the power of words and their
positive or negative impact when selling. The words “price” and
“cost” have negative impact; I prefer using the word “investment.”
This term sounds even better if you can learn who else will benefit
from a positive decision. “The investment you will be making for
you and your family will be $X. Your decision to make this
investment will be enjoyed by everyone for a long time.”

Another word that infers expense is “dollars.” Years ago,
someone whose sales success I admired suggested that, when quoting
an investment amount, you should say “it will run you 3,275,” and
not say “dollars.” He believed the word “dollars” gives a negative
connotation and that we are conditioned to the idea that it means
spending.

Words mean a lot; proper word usage will positively impact the
prospect’s buying emotions and decision-making process. So, when
choosing your words, think about what you’re trying to accomplish.
First, you don’t want your word usage to scare a customer
away.’

One day when I was “pretend shopping,” I inquired about one of
the major brands of solid surface tops displayed. When I asked what
it would cost, the department attendant replied, “I don’t think
you’ll be interested because it’s awfully expensive.” Obviously,
this statement will ruin your opportunity to have the prospect
listen and understand your product’s benefits.

Second, before disclosing the amount of the investment, be sure
you’ve done your best to cover the benefits to be gained of owning
the products being offered.’

There’s a risk that in deferring to answer until you have built
value, your prospect won’t be patient enough to hear you through.
But if the prospect can’t give you that time, it could be the
prospect hasn’t been properly qualified and isn’t a match to become
your customer.’

However, part of the customer’s impatient attitude could be your
fault if you lack the necessary depth of industry knowledge, are
not prepared, or frankly, don’t have any passion about your work or
products. The prospect could be getting a perspective of the
biggest sale killer indifference by you.’

If you have the passion, knowledge and skills about your
offering, the prospect will want to hear you out and participate in
developing the value he or she is looking for. This will help
assure the person that he or she is making the right decision.

Finally, make the decision-maker out to be a hero. Tell the
person that others will approve of the decision and how the
decision is important because it will last a long time. Convince
the customer that he or she would want to be fully informed before
making this important decision, knowing a right decision will bring
compliments from friends, neighbors and family.

All of this will require a conscious effort on your part the
next time you’re asked to reveal a price before you’ve built value.
However, it’s up to you to create your advantage and wait until you
have completed your presentation. When you try to close a sale
without giving your best shot of building value, it’s more likely
that you’ll receive price objections. Test your skill with your
next customer and keep selling until you’ve matched your offering
with the prospect’s needs, wants, desires and expectations. Then,
give them the investment requirement.

Selling is a very flexible process. You must have your
selling-skills antennae up and be sensitive to your prospect. Ask
the right questions and give the right answers. Not only will you
be pleased with the results your customer will be pleased,
also.

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