I recently wrote a post in which I said some unkind things about salespeople who immediately wave the white flag of surrender when they’re confronted with price resistance. In fairness, it’s one thing to criticize, and quite another to offer solutions. This article is a start.
If the first battle you have to win is the one in your own mind, the key to winning the price war is to go into it with the right mindset. Here are some modes of thinking that you may need to change:
From price to cost: In complex systems sales, price is often a small part of the total cost of using the product or service. That’s why initial price savings may end up being very costly over the life of the purchase. As a cabdriver in Vegas once told me: “I’m too poor to buy cheap shoes.”
From cost to investment: Cost implies loss, investment implies a return. Focus on what the buyer will get out of the decision, not what they have to put in. If you see a promising investment, you don’t try to minimize how much you put in; you always want to put in more money.
From saving money to making money: If anyone was in business to save money, they could just shut their doors. Saving is only a means to an end, and it’s not always the best way to get there.
From wants to needs: Everyone wants a low price, but they usually need something more important. Your job is to know their situation so well that you can guide and teach them about needs they may not even be aware of.
From product to solution: People don’t buy products, they buy solutions to problems, some of which they don’t yet know they have. Focus on the problem and the price will recede in significance.
From pie slicing to pie growing: A lot of the mental energy that’s wasted in arguing over who gets the bigger slice of the pie may be better expended in jointly working on ways to generate more cash flow through imaginative ways of using the solution to improve their operations.
From defending your higher price to making the competitor defend their lower price: In a free enterprise system, sellers charge what the market will bear. If their price is lower, they must know something about their offer; make sure you and the buyer are asking the right questions.