The burning question buyers want answered before salespeople should answer it
by Lee Salz
IMAGE PROVIDED BY GETTY IMAGES (PORCOREX)
If you sell products, services, technology or software as a service, there is a burning question buyers want answered.
Whether you sell to businesses or consumers, this pressing question is in the forefront of buyers’ minds. It doesn’t matter if you sell in Chicago, London, or Tel Aviv; buyers often want this question answered before salespeople should answer it.
The burning question… how much is it?
The challenge salespeople face is that buyers ask for pricing prematurely, before salespeople have been able to position differentiators.
Two bad choices
When a salesperson is asked about pricing, he has only two choices, and neither of them position him to get the sale.
If the salesperson answers the question, he loses. The conversation becomes laser-focused on price. Unless you are selling for the low price provider and price is your differentiator, sharing the price prematurely is a surefire way to lose the deal.
If the salesperson refuses to answer the question, he loses. The buyer becomes irritated since the salesperson has not done what was requested. The conversation turns contentious.
Like I said, salespeople have only two choices when premature requests for pricing occur… to tell them or not tell them… and both lead to a high likelihood of not getting the sale.
A third choice strategy
What these two choices tell salespeople is that another strategy is needed to deal with premature pricing requests. Taking a step back, when questions like this pricing one are raised by buyers, salespeople are put in a reactionary mode. They are caught on their heels and come across defensive with their responses. We all know that he who asks the questions is in control of the conversation.
Unless what you are offering is free, you know that every buyer you encounter has the price question on the brain. You know they want to know. You know it will come up. Set the stage for the right time for that conversation. Why let the price question come up prematurely and derail your sale?
How much is a house…a car…a computer…a tablet…a cellphone…cleaning services? None of those questions can be answered without a salesperson first acquiring information from the buyer. Yet that doesn’t keep a buyer from asking for price prematurely.
Anticipate and address the question
The situation also provides salespeople with an opportunity to differentiate them from the competition based on how they handle buyer questions, objections and concerns. That sales differentiation strategy is to anticipate those conversation points and address them proactively rather than let the buyer bring them up.
In the example of a premature pricing request, keep the question from being raised by proactively addressing it early in the conversation.
“I know a question on your mind is price. That question would be on my mind too. There are several factors that affect pricing for what we offer. If I can ask you a few questions, that will allow me to address pricing for you. Is that okay?”
This sales differentiation strategy provides several benefits:
- You’ve proactively addressed price before it came up
- You’ve demonstrated that we understand our buyer and appreciate a burning question on his mind
- You’ve explained that providing a price is not as simple as tossing out a number
- You’ve allowed the buyer to feel he is still in control by asking permission to provide pricing later
This sales differentiation strategy isn’t just to deal with premature pricing requests. It can be (and should be) used to address common questions buyers have on their minds so you can proactively address them rather than be put in a defensive position.
In a competitive sales environment, salespeople must take advantage of every opportunity to differentiate themselves. This is a simple, subtle way to help them stand out from the pack.
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