One of the biggest weaknesses I see in sales people, whether they are new to the job or dyed in the wool veterans, is a problem when asking for ‘big’ money.
The stutter on the price, or the hesitation is bad enough. But I’ve even heard sales people tell a prospect to ‘sit down’ because the price is coming and it’s clearly going to knock them off their feet! Or worse, they start to go there with discounts before the price just asked for has even sunk in…
The one idea to get your head around is the link between price and value.
The issue is that if we think there is a problem with the price, or we think that the thing we are selling is expensive – it means we don’t value it. And that’s clearly problematic for the person we are asking to buy.
The fastest way to position a product is through price. You don’t need expensive advertising campaigns or loads of PR. You don’t need website links or social media chatter.
Basically, if something is ‘expensive’ I perceive it to be good.
If something is cheap, I perceive it to be not so good.
All things are relative, and your perception of reality IS your reality.
If I am considering cars for instance, I intuitively understand the ‘premium’ pricing of a Lamborghini or a Ferrari sets it apart from the day to day ‘run abouts’ of a Ford or a Fiat.
Interestingly, many of the cars in today’s marketplace are actually owned and made by the same people. So for instance, Ferrari is owned by Fiat. Volkswagen owns Bugatti. At one time Ford owned Jaguar and so on.
In reality, the difference in these products is very slight. They all take us from A to B. They all do it with four wheels and an internal combustion engine. They all run on air filled tyres and have some kind of exterior shell to protect us from the elements.
The only REAL difference in any of them is the price! And its the price that helps us understand the value the sellers are trying to convince us these products deliver.
Everything else is just buyer justification. Once we have decided we want to buy something everything else from the packaging to the warrantee is designed to justify the purchase to ourselves.
Ever thought about insurance?
Even the briefest investigation into our once a year purchase must lead to the conclusion that its a huge gamble to buy insurance? The actual chances of something going wrong, heaven forbid, are really small – which is why the insurance companies are able to make so much money!
We bet against ourselves having problems with our cars, or houses or holidays or health, and for the vast majority of people nothing ever happens. And the insurance company keeps the money.
We justify it by asking ourselves ‘what if’?
I justify buying new golf clubs by telling myself they will make me a better golfer. I justify buying new clothes by telling myself I need look good to feel good. And so on.
And inexorably tied into our feelings of want and need are the prices of things. When we buy something that we want to make us feel good, a new car or a computer or a piece of jewelry – we intuitively understand that more is more. The higher the price, the higher the perceived value.
On the other hand, if we have to buy something we need for other than purely hedonistic reasons, like insurance, we want to get it as cheaply as we can. We don’t value it in the same way, but we convince ourselves we need it, so we want to drive the cost down as much as we can.
Is it like that for your product? Are you selling something luxurious like fast cars? Where the high price is actually an aid to your ability to sell? Or are you selling something like business services or marketing? The value of which is much harder to ascertain?
What you have to grasp is that according to the value sets we have all grown up with, the more expensive something is, the more we automatically perceive it to have value (generally speaking).
Actually under pricing yourself or your product or stumbling over the price / cost implies that you think its expensive. This so fundamentally undermines your efforts its not true. If you want to paint a picture of a highly valuable product, you need to do little else other than price it highly, and then come over as completely confident in that price.
You know that feeling that the sales people are weighing and measuring you when you walk into the Porsche garage? That’s exactly what happens! The prices there are really helping the sales people. If you can’t afford them you shouldn’t be there.
If you can, then you are a bona fide prospect. In fact the psychology of the purchase is that you get a lot out of the fact that most people cant afford that car. That’s probably why you are buying it in the first place!
Ultimately, the reason you cant ask for the big money, or your stumble over the price is because you think that the product you are selling is ‘expensive’. In other words it isn’t valuable enough.
You don’t have faith in the thing you are selling in the first place. Therefore your chances of actually convincing the prospect of value are very slim indeed.
Go back to basics. Why are you selling what you are selling? How does it benefit the customer?
Look for success stories you can share with your clients to ‘back up’ your claims and the pricing structure that is attached to your product.
Speak to some of the more experienced people on the sales team. What do they think of the price? How do they ‘justify’ it to themselves? Never mind the clients!
Programme yourself to believe, and you will believe.
“Buyers only buy when buyers believe” (Dave Gifford). And you have to make them think that you believe, in order for them to believe.
And if you cant convince them?
Fake it until you make it.
Sales is about performance. Telling stories and turning the dial up on your language and approach so that you can convince the client you mean what you say is pure performance.
Asking for the cash is no different. Just do it. Practice saying it. Practice saying it until you can do it without that psychological stumble or the reflexive offer of a discount before the client has even asked for one!
The subconscious isn’t discerning. If you tell it something often enough you start to believe it! Ask for the cash with enough conviction for long enough and before long you’ll believe every word you say.
Otherwise, maybe you shouldn’t be selling it in the first place?