I hear it with some regularity from Prospects. “But your lock costs more than the one I currently use.”
If I have done my job I already know what lock they currently use and that my lock costs more. And I know enough about their business (or vertical market) that I have insights into HOW they may use my types of locks–meaning the application of the lock technology in their daily work.
Yet, the “Yours costs more” drumbeat can grow louder as interaction with a Prospect advances.
There is no “one” technique, tip, action, or point that a Salesperson can take to refocus the discussion.
First, you have to “read” the Prospect, the situation, the opportunity, and a host of other variables–and act.
As I see it, there are two common scenarios when it seems price is the one and only driver. They are:
- The “Yours cost more” is coming from a position of unawareness.
- Or it comes from an inability, unwillingness, or tacit decision to neglect all variables except cost.
What to do when the “Yours cost more” is coming from a position of unawareness
Realize this is the best scenario, as it opens the door for you to share information that the Prospect may find helpful to their work, responsibilities, and security. Meaning, now you can begin to position your products and solutions using examples, features, issues that may resonate with the prospect–and with each successful point you make with them THEY will put the “Yours cost more” further away from THEIR sole focus.
If you know your product and the competing product the Prospect uses; you are halfway there–but you must really KNOW those two products–yours and your competitors. That’s right, knowing those two will only get you halfway. The rest is being able to have a conversation–as opposed to a hard sales pitch–with the prospect. Also, learning about him/her in the context of their work involving your product (or competitor’s product). As any good Salesperson knows, you sometimes get that information directly and sometimes you have to draw it out, or even suggest topics that might help the Prospect feel comfortable sharing with you (that is to say, you build some trust and/or credibility).
So, you take these two halves. Product knowledge and communication. And you assemble them into context.
By way of example, it might go like this: “Hey, Bob, have you run into those situations where a nurse is telling you a keypad on a lock doesn’t work right and they are frustrated with the lock and you?” Bob, replies that he has that happen often. And I reply that one of the reasons it happens is likely because his current lock has lights that activate on each key push, but we know a nurse is often pushing keypad keys without looking (as they are doing six things at once in an exam room) and they, therefore, don’t realize that they haven’t fully pushed a key when the only indication is lights lighting up or not lighting up. “So, Bob, what if the lock were to have both lights and audible feedback when you do a key press, that might help that issue with frustrated staff and all eyes being focused on you, wouldn’t it?” Bob, most often agrees and then sees me demo our lock doing just what I described–and knows his current one has no audible feedback abilities.
And the conversation can go on from there. “Hey, Bob, cleaning equipment in a healthcare environment is crucial, right? Especially when you have the Joint Commission and CMS looking at everything from MRSA to HAI’s on hospital surfaces.” This leads into a discussion of our flush handle lock being easier to clean than our competitor’s protruding handle lock.
What’s important is the conversation be as much of a conversation as possible–back and forth. That sounds simple enough, yet cues to change the conversation in a slight direction this way or that way are important to pick up on.
As you go forward, you can share information that justifies your price being higher than the current lock being used. When the conversation goes well, the most typical place you arrive at is the Prospect wanting to know more about how to get your lock, or if they can try a sample, or who do they contact for pricing, etc…. In other words, signals come to the fore that make you aware you have addressed the “Yours costs more” statement.
While your sale isn’t yet made, nor your work done, you have bridged this initial roadblock and can now move the relationship/conversation/potential sale forward.
What to do when “yours cost more” is coming from an inability, unwillingness, or tacit decision to neglect all variables except cost
First, you can make a run at sharing why your product costs no more than an equivalent product–indirectly helping the Prospect see that their current product is not equivalent. If that makes no headway, you may want to be more direct and take more control.
For if a Prospect is truly only focused on price and all other aspects (quality, warranty, support, features, versatility, relationship, and on and on) have no meaning…..then what do you have to lose by being more direct and taking more control? If you believe in your product, your team, and all those other variables, then you should have no problem telling the Prospect that your price for a product superior to what they currently use is never going to be reduced to their current price for a lessor product, and “Yes, Mr. Prospect, mine does cost more.”
In that scenario you have essentially told the Prospect, “I can’t work with you, given that your focus is unrealistic when it comes to what I have to offer.” I see nothing wrong with that. Sometimes companies ‘fire the customer’ when they become too demanding and the relationship of working with them has turned from mutually beneficial to lop-sided or unprofitable. In this sense, a Salesperson ‘firing a Prospect’ is similar–a decision to move on and spend your valuable sales hours on developing Prospects who show more promise. A smart move, as I see it.
It sure beats continuing dialog for months on end to someone who made clear to you from the beginning that your company, you, and all that you can offer them is insignificant outside of price. Even if you win the business on price, you’ve done so at a horrible margin, shown you are a weak negotiator, conveyed you don’t truly value all those qualities, features, and other variables you spoke about in the early stages of your discussion–and likely have come off as desperate in the process. You have won nothing. Let that Prospect go. They were not worth more of your time. And, in some cases THEY will come back to YOU at a future date (might be months–more likely years) and want to revisit what you have to offer….as they will have learned that a sole focus on price got them exactly what you knew it would.
On these points about “letting a Prospect go” or “I can’t work with you,” etc… One caution. I write the words and phrases here and they may sound callous or even rude. I am not advocating being anything less than professional in your approach (i.e. don’t be that ‘jerk’ salesperson who we either worked with in the past or have had call on us before!–who gets all snide and indignant when they see a situation going south). I am suggesting you fully know when to move on to make better use of your limited sales hours–and take direct and professional action to do so.
So, two routes (generally) when it comes to cost/price protestations early in a sales dance. One, spend the time to educate using info important to the Prospect–and you can win that sale. Two, discover early on if price truly is the ONLY issue–and is unable to be neutralized–and move on to use your time more wisely.
Photo by: Chris Potter