Sales tips for the aspiring rock star!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lock and Load Against Price Objections!

Recession Buster week continues on The Sales Playbook

There are two different sections of handling a price objection (or any objection for the matter)

1) What you should have done to make it an objection resistant relationship. We aint going there today. Why? Because barring a time machine it won’t help get you out of a current situation. Let’s tackle that one another day. Delio?

2) The “How the hell do I handle” it part. To this, I say, let’s go there.

Don’t do this: Don’t automatically respond with “how much higher?” or “where do we need to be on this?” Doing so relinquishes control, put’s you on the defensive, diminishes the value of your widget and as a bonus, you sound like everyone else!

Don’t give in on the price right away unless the deal is in critical condition. If you give in on a price immediately, they are gonna think you were hosing them or worse yet, they are going to think they could have hosed you for more than they, uh, hosed.

By all means, do this:

Be prepared: You know times are tough and there’s a chance of this objection popping up, so why not have at least 3 responses planned so you can simply choose your weapon?

Put it into a context: Instead of you defending your position, have the other party do the splainin as my friend Ricky Ricardo would say. When someone tells you your price is too high simply ask them “Compared to what?” Doing this buys you a few extra seconds to think (never a bad thing) and gives you options you would never have had if you just lowered the price. I’ve asked this question and had people say “Well it just seems high we’ve never done this before” Does that give me room to maneuver? Hell yes it does! I’ve had people also tell me “Compared to my other vendor” My response to that is now one of several options:

Get confused: I get confused when I have done a thorough needs analysis prior and the prospect/client has told me that the other company dropped the ball. I will literally say “I apologize, but I am a bit confused. Is this the same company that missed the deadline, made you look bad to your boss and screwed the proverbial pooch? (sorry I really wanted to work that ridiculous saying into this blog)

Get real: Sometimes a price objection is nothing more than a throw away objection to a much deeper concern.

Here’s how I check temperature on that one: “We can certainly address the price, before we do let me ask you, price aside, what else is on your mind? This approach helps to get ALL the issues out on the table. Once again, it buys time and helps me to direct the conversation.

Use the landscape to your advantage: Perhaps you can make a price concession in exchange for a bigger piece of the pie.

Apples to Apples . . . NOT! If they are looking “Apples to Apples” toss in an orange instead of lowering your price. This is where you tout your value adds, free product training, delivery, etc.

Cash in your get out of jail free card: A get out a jail free card is something you must create in advance. Example: your client calls you in need of that 11th hour miracle. If you are able to come through for them, come through and document it by sending an email thanking them for their business and telling them we’re happy to have helped them through their challenge. I cash this in when someone repeatedly tries to beat me up on price. I won’t throw it in their face, but I will ask them how much that was worth to them.

Do not use this Monkey Style Kung Fu line: “Mr/Ms Prospect, I’d rather apologize once for a high price then repeatedly for bad service”

Use this line and you suck: "We offer quality, service or price, pick one" My response to that "What, there's no you're a dick option?"

Do not break eye contact

Watch your language: this is an especially good time to watch all those “ums” “basically’s” “you knows”. Experts say that they not only distract from our message, they give a perception of disbelief in what we are saying.

Don’t be afraid to unleash your Whoop Ass! Look them right in the eye and tell them that with the higher price comes with something the other company can’t offer . . . YOU! Back it up with some evidence such as some testimonials, 3 killer references willing to say that you da sham wow etc!

When all else fails, plant a seed of doubt but leave the door open. Here’s how I do it : “Craig, you know sometimes we make a decision that backfires. If you find yourself in a situation where the other company isn’t able to sustain quality and service. Please call me, because I’d really love to have your business!”

Send them a thank you card thanking them for the opportunity. Believe it or not, you will get good sportsmanship points and enhance your brand.

If you do part ways, check in with them every now and again. Things change, hard ass bean counters move on and . . .

No isn’t a door slammed shut for all eternity . . . It simply means NOT NOW!

Go get ‘em!

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  1. Great advice Paul! I'm running into this every single day--we have a local competitor that can do the unthinkable in price. I'm trying to win back a customer we lost to them. I especially like:

    "If you find yourself in a situation where the other company isn’t able to sustain quality and service. Please call me, because I’d really love to have your business!”

    I'm definitely stuffing a few of these ideas in my pocket for our next meeting--thanks!

    Courtney Thomas
    Wentworth Printing

  2. Good article. I would add this. When your customer says your price is too high, you respond with "Are you most concerned with PRICE or COST?". Prospect says "What's the difference?". This opens up an opportunity to reinforce your message of total cost of ownership, which de-emphasizes price alone and allows you to build value. If your prospect objects to price, it simply means that they do not YET equate the value of your product or service with the price you are charging.

  3. Annmarie Scottson, WalsworthMay 7, 2009 at 5:09 PM

    I kind of think about the "how about you're a (fill in the blank)" from time to time....

    This was a fantastic article. And the price vs cost question is a great one too. So many folks get thrown by that concept (amazing, isn't it?), so it makes you look like a king or queen in their eyes!

    I'm bringing this with me to my sales meeting next week!

  4. Excellent article and some great suggestions there. Also thanks to anonymous for the comment on "Price or Cost"?


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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul This has been a paid announcement by the friends of Paul Castain!

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