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Selling with Value

By Rick Grosso, CSP

Bill Parcells, former coach of the New York Jets, once said: “Anything worth doing has a price.” A perfect example is the way we earn a living. When we work for someone, we are literally selling a portion of our time – in fact, our life – to that person or company in order to earn a living. The price that we set for our time ultimately determines the type of car we drive, the size of home we can afford – just about everything we buy. So what’s your life worth? Salespeople who close the BIG deals know the value of their time. They also know how to project that value in what they are selling.

When it comes to sales, we would all rather take the easy path. If a customer raises an objection regarding price, our first tendency might be to offer a discount. It’s the easy thing to do. But a true salesman knows how to avoid this. He immediately turns the customer’s concern about money into a discussion about value. He understands that a customer’s concern over price is a sign of his willingness to buy. He wants to buy, but he needs to be convinced. He needs to feel good about the decision he is about to make. It’s a critical moment. It’s up to that salesperson to capitalize on it.

Presenting the Benefits

In order to sell the value of what you are offering, it’s important to remember that people tend to buy because of expectations created for them by the salesperson. In other words, people buy what they are sold. So sell them!

A customer’s expectations can be your strongest ally in a selling process. People buy because of what a product does, not because of what the product is. As an example, the metal roofing you sell may reduce maintenance, improve a structure’s appearance, or help save on energy costs. So you’re not selling a metal roof. You’re selling the benefits of a metal roof. If a customer raises an issue regarding the price per square foot, a good salesperson will talk about his company’s knowledgeable installers. He will talk about the long-term benefits of metal and the expertise his company can provide during the installation process. Remember, never sell your company’s service and products on price. Sell them on the benefits. The benefits are the true value of what you are offering.

Building a Relationship

Customers want to feel comfortable with their decision to buy. A significant part of that comfort depends on how they feel about the salesperson that is guiding them through the decision process. If you do your best to build confidence and trust with your prospects, they’re more likely to buy from you at the price you are asking. This is particularly true today because of increased pressures on our time. Many customers don’t have the time to get three or four competitive bids. The decision could come down to just two companies. If your products and services are good and you do your best to build the confidence and trust that the customer expects from a salesperson, chances are good that you’ll get the sale.

Overcoming the Competition

One of the biggest obstacles to maintaining your price can be your competition. How can you compete against a lower price? In the customer’s mind, you both offer metal roofing, but you’re more expensive. Overcoming this obstacle is all in the way you differentiate yourself. Compared to your competition, you may offer better, cleaner or faster installation. Your products may be backed with a longer warranty or a more durable paint finish. To further separate yourself from the competition, don’t simply tell them what’s different or unique, try to prove it to them through demonstration. Show them that over time their investment in quality will give them greater satisfaction while saving them money. After all, when you’re presenting to a prospect, it’s all about W.I.I.F.M. (What’s In It For Me?). Keep in mind that your customers don’t want the cheapest product, they want the best product for the money.

Don’t Quit Before the Sale

According to Brian Tracy, a leading authority on personal and business success, 80% of all sales are closed on the fifth closing attempt or more. Yet research shows that only 10% of all salespeople make that many closing attempts. Even worse, in 48% of all sales calls no closing attempt is ever made.

Remember that the goal of a sales call is to make a sale. Don’t give up before you have your customer’s signature on the contract. Keep trying to close at the price you’ve set. As author and publisher William Feather once said, “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” So hold your ground. Don’t take the easy path and reduce your price. Sell the value of what you’re offering.

A Valuable Tip

The next time you’re making a presentation and the customer asks for a better price after you’ve already given them a discount, tell them you will. Then calmly retrieve the paper work, cross out the discounted price and write back in the retail price. When the customer complains, respond by saying: “That is a good price. The other number was a great price. Which would you prefer?” Remember a price objection is usually a buying sign. Don’t feel that you have to give another discount. The more you fight to get your price, the more the customer will believe in the value of what you are selling.

As published in print:
Insurance News – Published by Insurance News USA – May 2001
Agent’s Sales Journal – Published by MC Publishing – June 2001
Exterior Advantage – Published by Brandon Publishing – Summer 2001
metalmag.com – Published by Spiderweb inc. – May/ June 2001
Fraternal Monitor – Published by Probe Publications, Inc. – June 2001