If You Live By Price - You Will Die By Price

By Alen Majer

If your prospect does not see the value in your product or service, and if the only difference between you and the competitors is in pricing, you didn’t do a good job as a sales person. The main description of your position inside the company is to create the value, not just to show your price list.

Teaching and educating customers is no longer enough, giving them information about your products or services is no longer necessary. They can get them by themselves, without ever talking to you or your company, and know more about your product and positioning on the market then you. If they know so much about you, how can you try to sell them the same product without knowing their business situation or their needs?

Remember that customers are sophisticated; they either have or believe they can get product information more reliably on their own. Information is readily available through many different sources, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Internet is full of different forums, blogs, and review or research websites where they can get information about your product easily.

Customers don’t just want a specific product; most of the times they want to solve their pain point or business issues. A customer in today's competitive sales environment does not expect to educate the sales professional about their business. Therefore, you must already possess a solid understanding of the customer's industry, competitors, and business direction.

Developing such a comprehensive view of the customer is a task that requires extensive researching and education to get an overall picture of the customer's business industry. The modern sales person needs to focus on understanding the customer's business initiatives, strategic plans, IT environment, and key customer preferences.

If you are still seeing yourself as someone who is there to educate customers, you are living in the past. The time of product-centric sales is gone. Welcome to customer-centric approach in sales. You need to move away from the focus on presenting your products. Instead a customer-centric approach shows that you recognize and understand your customers’ needs, which is necessary if you want to survive in a 21st Century sales environment.

Your customers are tired of salespeople who come in and are unable to address real business needs, but talk about their company and the hottest feature, or unique one that nobody else has. There are many dimensions that you are selling, and price is only one of them.

How to win the deal and not even touch the topic of discounting of your product or service?

If you base your offer on your price only, there is a good chance that someone will have lower price than you, or you can end up in the bidding war that distracts from solutions. To avoid that, base your proposal in achieving more goals for your prospects, not just to save money, because every other salesperson will say exactly the same.

Customer wants to see the value not in your product; he wants to get the value from your solution to their business problem. They must perceive unique value from you. If they cannot differentiate you from the competition, there is no reason to buy from you.

Probably you can’t differentiate much with your product, I am sure you have some unique features, but your competition has them too. Customers today can easily substitute your product with the one from your competition and still be satisfied.

So how can you differentiate? That’s where trigger events are coming to the game. Trigger events can help you with recognizing needs and opening the door to have a meaningful conversation with customers who have events happening. Just to be different from the competition is not really important to your customers. What they would like to see is added value.

What creates customer value?

  • Skilled sales force

  • Sales process itself

  • Understanding their business situation today and adapting to their particular wants and needs

If you recognize customers’ needs and create the value for them, customers will move from initial meeting to a decision much easier. Communicating the value is a traditional view of selling, but in today’s world you can’t survive if you are not creating the value for the customer. And make customer realize that they are on the market.

Sales person needs to play a leading role to create the value for his customers. In each step of sales process sales person can create the value, but the most value can be created early in the process by helping customers to define their needs.

This is true especially in consultative sales where sales person can create the value recognizing customer needs with trigger events and helping them to define them better and deeper. Sales professional needs to create the specialized situation and put them on the market even they didn’t felt like that before he entered the picture.

If you are just selling your product – you are missing the point and you will die by price, as you lived by price. Customers are looking beyond the product; they are looking for the solution to their needs and your understanding of their business situation. Many times that should include help and advice too.

Different customers must be treated differently, what works for one customer may not work at all for another. Knowing about trigger events happening to your targeted prospect (and more different events is always better) you will have a very powerful tool to adjust your sales presentation to their needs, recovered with trigger events.

Concentrate on understanding your customers' business issues, and show them how to solve more than one goal with your product, create a value for them and you will go home with the contract in your pocket, whatever the price is.

Let me repeat it here once more - if you don't show the value you will definitely not win whatever your price is. Even if you have a lowest price on the market, it does not mean much to the prospect, because they don't see the difference between your product and ones from the competition. And many buyers are buying from someone who had crafted a compelling solution to their needs, then comes understanding of their needs, and after that the financial part of the deal.

Your goal as sales professional is to create value through how you’re selling, not just through what you’re selling. To be a real sales professional ready for 21st century customers, here is no question you need to change your approach, but when and how?

Read other articles and learn more about Alen Majer.

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