“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
- Author Unknown
Ahhh…the Holiday season is here.
And instead of writing something about the 12 days of Christmas or elves or mistletoe, I thought I’d share with you a quick list of 12 habits your salespeople can develop to overcome price resistance before it even occurs.
1. Reliability and dependability - It’s simple. People like to know that they can rely on you. It is a foolish (and rare) customer who will drop a known provider to save a few pennies by buying from an unknown source.
2. Predictability - Customers not only like reliability, they like predictability. Most people who study behavior know this – what someone has done in the past likely indicates what he’ll do in the future. So, give your customers a predictable experience and they’ll stay with you.
3. Reaction to their needs - If you can find ways to acknowledge your customers’ uniqueness, and be flexible and responsive to their specialized needs, you will almost always earn a purchase order, even if your price is higher than your competitor’s.
4. Short delivery times - Even those prospects and customers who do not say they need “just-in-time” delivery still like short delivery times; that is true no matter what the product or service is. Everybody wants it yesterday, and if you can provide it sooner than your competitor, you can charge a higher price for it.
5. Breadth and depth in quality - You stand a much better chance of building a valuable, long-term relationship with your customers if you do everything you can to provide, not only a quality product or service, but also to ensure that your customers achieve maximum utilization of the product or service they’re buying from you.
6. Knowledge, competence and follow-up - We all like to know that we’re in good hands. Salespeople who are serious about following up on orders, making sure that everything’s right, and are thorough in processing, expediting requests and being available after the sale is made find that these activities give them an opportunity to sell at a premium price…and the opportunity to make more sales to their existing accounts.
7. A willingness to “go to bat” for the customer when problems arise - All customers like to have somebody on their side. Your customers will appreciate – and likely pay a premium price for – genuine help if and when any kind of problem arises. Become your customer’s advocate and they’ll stay with you. Don’t and they might not.
8. Salespeople who know their product line - Your customers expect you to know a lot about what you’re selling. If you do, they will believe that you can assist them in making the best choice in buying what it is that they want or expect to buy from you.
9. Ease of interpretation of your price lists and quotes - If you can point out to your prospect exactly what the price is in simple, understandable terms, you’re more apt to get the order. It’s this simple: A confused prospect buys nothing! If prospects have to sort through a lot of paperwork, or ask you a million questions to ascertain the real (or total) price, they’re apt to give their business to your competitor, who gives them a simple, quick, clean and easy-to-understand quotation.
10. Early notice of shipment or product problems - If you ever see that shipping or product problems are coming up, let your customers know about them as far in advance as possible, and let them know up front how you are going to help them get through the difficulty.
11. Advance warning of discontinuance of items - Again, people don’t like surprises. If you are going to discontinue a product or service that your customer has been using, they’d like to know in ample time to cover their own self-interests relative to the unavailability of that product or service.
12. An easy, “no-brainer” relationship - When it’s easy to do business with you, your customer’s life is easier. When a salesperson becomes a “complication” for the buyer, they’ll go elsewhere. Period. By the same token, when you anticipate your customer’s needs and make working with you super-easy, your customer will pay a premium price and looking elsewhere won’t even cross their mind.
Share this list with your team. It’ll make a nice Holiday gift.
Why? Because if your salespeople gain an understanding of these concepts and begin articulating them in their conversations with prospects and customers, they’re guaranteed to encounter far less price resistance in their day-to-day selling efforts. What a gift.
BONUS: the real power of this list is that the majority of these items can be implemented without significant additional cost, while offering them to prospects and customers will most likely help your sales team avoid the “cut your price” conversation altogether.