What Are You Really Selling?

12 replies
I don't know why, but some people have gotten the impression that selling is all about having the best price. If that were truly the case then there'd be price wars in every industry.

Long term sales is about relationship building. Many times you can make a great first impression and sell someone on the first contact. Other times you may have to contact them a few times before they'll buy, but as long as you're nice, respectful and don't be a scumbag, you can eventually get a lot of those people on the books too.

There are still some companies that sell products over the phone for prices so high that unless you've been in the game for awhile, it's hard to imagine how they've stayed in business, especially with companies selling the same things for dirt cheap online.

It's really pretty simple. The way they approach people makes them likeable, convenient to use and at the end of the day, it makes them very profitable.

A couple years ago I saw companies in my industry having price wars. Some still are, actually. Stupid. It sucks that they're selling things so cheap because there are times when I have no choice but to price match or lose the customer. On the other hand, I still have customers that won't bat an eye when I quote them a price. They have no problem because they know, like and trust me.

Some people have actually raised their prices and are still doing very well. I've seen more companies selling at list price now than I have in a long time and they have a nice account base. They've eliminated a lot of the profit sucking, "customer service happy" individuals and now only deal with people that they want to deal with - and they're making more money!

I check the prices at a company where I used to work on a regular basis to see what they're selling things for and they consistently have some of the highest prices in the industry, but they're still doing very well. They even have an active forum full of happy customers!

As Seth Godin would say, they've built their own "tribe".

I have a major grocery store directly across the street that has great prices. We shop there all the time. There's also a WalMart super store less than a mile from here.

Yet, the 7/11 on the opposite corner is always super busy!

How can that be, you ask? These guys charge double and triple the price of what you could get some things for directly across the street, but thousands of people go through there every day regardless. They're fast, they're friendly, they have exactly what I want and they're convenient.

That kind of crushes the theory about price always being the number one selling point, eh?

Put yourself in your prospect's shoes. Be honest, especially when you have to charge more than you'd like. Take care of them. Give them reasons to smile. Tell them jokes. Ask about their family, their interests, their business, etc. Take time for them and let them talk about themselves. Take notes about these things so you immediately have something personal to bring up next time you talk to them. They'll grow to like and trust you even more.

They won't mind paying a little (or a lot) more as long as you provide a great experience for them every time they do business with you.

Bottom line: It's not always about "offering the lowest price". Sell yourself! Be the person that YOU would want to do business with. By doing so you can build your own happy "tribe" that doesn't jump ship on you every time the see a sale price somewhere else.

Peace.
#selling
  • Profile picture of the author Neison
    [DELETED]
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    • choose 1 of 3:

      best product
      best price
      best service


      can't have it all.
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      • Profile picture of the author Suzy Berry
        Originally Posted by kirbymarketingconcierge View Post

        choose 1 of 3:

        best product
        best price
        best service


        can't have it all.
        Why not? It's realy the best way to make bussiness. It's greate if you can knock into one these three categories.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by kirbymarketingconcierge View Post

        choose 1 of 3:

        best product
        best price
        best service


        can't have it all.
        I have a friend that has a sign in his store;

        Price
        Service
        Quality
        Pick any two.
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        • Profile picture of the author misterme
          Originally Posted by Joe Stewart View Post

          especially when you have to charge more than you'd like.
          I'm sorry. I just can't think of a time when I charged more than I would've liked.
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          • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
            Originally Posted by misterme View Post

            I'm sorry. I just can't think of a time when I charged more than I would've liked.
            I hear you. My point is that the market I'm in is super competitive and although I DO want to make as much money as I possibly can from each sale, I'm also conscious of the fact that these individuals are getting catalogs (and trade magazines with advertisements) delivered to their door from companies that are buying in much higher volume than I am.

            I have customer files sitting here on my desk and several of these guys have done business with me since 1993, with the exception of a 5 year hiatus I took. I tend to look at the lifetime value of a customer as much or more than I do a one time transaction.

            Make sense?

            By the way, when I said "I have to charge more than I'd like" it's because I'm not getting as good of a price on that item from the manufacturer as I am on most other products, so if I charge my usual markup, which I almost have to do on most items to turn a decent profit, then my price may be higher than many of my top competitors.
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      • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
        Originally Posted by kirbymarketingconcierge View Post

        choose 1 of 3:

        best product
        best price
        best service


        can't have it all.
        You can but you have to remember that people don't care about "price". They care about value. Price is merely a tangible form of value.

        Real world example: MP3 Players
        When MP3 players came out and to this day there are dozen of lower priced players.

        But the market didn't pick up until Apple entered the market. Apple still dominates the market. And they are among if not the most expensive MP3 players on the market based on price.

        But they are among the cheapest when it comes to value.

        People will spend more to save money, time, and etc. Even the the greatest of price shoppers will spend less if they get less value.

        Real World Example: Car Sales

        A classic closing technique is to have a lower priced "step down". So when the customer balks on price you can say. "I'm sorry Mr. Customer we simply can't go lower on the Malibu. Would you like to go out and look at the Cruze again? That would get you to where you want to be payment wise."

        The customer is not going to drop down. That doesn't mean he won't price shop multiple dealers on the model he wants. But he won't take less just to get the price he wants. Because it isn't about price.... it is about Value.

        So you can have
        • Best Product
        • Best Service
        • Best Value
        And in fact there are companies that pride themselves on providing all three. And there are others that choose to focus on just one or two.

        Edit: I wanted to add this is why it is so important that you make your product or service standout. Even if it is just telling them about something that every compariable product or service has. The chance that the other sales person brought it up is small. So if a feature (no matter how small) could be a benefit to them (not just you thinking it will) then tell them.

        Example: "You mentioned you like to liked to go camping in the woods. Since you won't have a water connection in many of these rustic campsites I wanted to show you this. Right here is where you will the fresh water tank. It can hold 40 gallons of water. And the great thing is that there is a button inside that turns on the 12 volt water pump. What that means to you is you can take this out where there is no water connection and even where there is no power connection and still use the battery to pump this large tank of water throughout the camper."

        For those that don't know RVs nearly every camper can do this. But do you think Joe Shmoe over at Camping World is going to talk about that? Of course not so in the customer's mind you have a benefit above the one he saw there.

        Get a few of these targeted benefits and you can sell a higher priced, less featured unit over the competition. The key was showing benefits that increase the value for that specific customer.
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        • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
          Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

          Example: "You mentioned you like to liked to go camping in the woods. Since you won't have a water connection in many of these rustic campsites I wanted to show you this. Right here is where you will the fresh water tank. It can hold 40 gallons of water. And the great thing is that there is a button inside that turns on the 12 volt water pump. What that means to you is you can take this out where there is no water connection and even where there is no power connection and still use the battery to pump this large tank of water throughout the camper."

          For those that don't know RVs nearly every camper can do this. But do you think Joe Shmoe over at Camping World is going to talk about that? Of course not so in the customer's mind you have a benefit above the one he saw there.

          Get a few of these targeted benefits and you can sell a higher priced, less featured unit over the competition. The key was showing benefits that increase the value for that specific customer.
          Great example. See "Claude Hopkins Schlitz Beer Ad". :-)

          It works like a charm. If you break down some of the features and explain the benefit of each one then the price becomes less of a barrier, even if those features are industry standard.
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  • Profile picture of the author badboy_Nick
    Originally Posted by Joe Stewart View Post

    They won't mind paying a little (or a lot) more as long as you provide a great experience for them every time they do business with you.

    Bottom line: It's not always about "offering the lowest price". Sell yourself!
    I feel the need to chip in as the above is only half-correct. Take me for instance: I'm selling finance leads I generate via my own websites and the merchants who buy them off me don't really give a hoot about anything but the two factors below:

    1) Do my leads convert for them i.e. make them money
    2) Am I a professional and trustworthy person to do business with in the long-run i.e. deliver on time

    Whether they personally like me is irrelevant, but it does indeed help. The prices they pay are also quite high but they do know they aren't copy/pasted from a phonebook but will convert for them. So, bottom line: It really is all about the ROI or VALUE deliver and sell

    At least that's based on my business experience the last few years which I believe is still accurate today.

    Nick
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    • Originally Posted by badboy_Nick View Post

      I feel the need to chip in as the above is only half-correct. Take me for instance: I'm selling finance leads I generate via my own websites and the merchants who buy them off me don't really give a hoot about anything but the two factors below:

      1) Do my leads convert for them i.e. make them money
      2) Am I a professional and trustworthy person to do business with in the long-run i.e. deliver on time

      Whether they personally like me is irrelevant, but it does indeed help. The prices they pay are also quite high but they do know they aren't copy/pasted from a phonebook but will convert for them. So, bottom line: It really is all about the ROI or VALUE deliver and sell

      At least that's based on my business experience the last few years which I believe is still accurate today.

      Nick
      I totally agree with you.
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  • Profile picture of the author nancymalida1
    Hey everyone. I am new in this forum and i have a question in my mind about Sale purchase??? any one who answer me please Favor me??????
    Thanks..
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Originally Posted by Joe Stewart View Post

    I don't know why, but some people have gotten the impression that selling is all about having the best price. If that were truly the case then there'd be price wars in every industry.

    Long term sales is about relationship building. Many times you can make a great first impression and sell someone on the first contact. Other times you may have to contact them a few times before they'll buy, but as long as you're nice, respectful and don't be a scumbag, you can eventually get a lot of those people on the books too.

    There are still some companies that sell products over the phone for prices so high that unless you've been in the game for awhile, it's hard to imagine how they've stayed in business, especially with companies selling the same things for dirt cheap online.

    It's really pretty simple. The way they approach people makes them likeable, convenient to use and at the end of the day, it makes them very profitable.

    A couple years ago I saw companies in my industry having price wars. Some still are, actually. Stupid. It sucks that they're selling things so cheap because there are times when I have no choice but to price match or lose the customer. On the other hand, I still have customers that won't bat an eye when I quote them a price. They have no problem because they know, like and trust me.

    Some people have actually raised their prices and are still doing very well. I've seen more companies selling at list price now than I have in a long time and they have a nice account base. They've eliminated a lot of the profit sucking, "customer service happy" individuals and now only deal with people that they want to deal with - and they're making more money!

    I check the prices at a company where I used to work on a regular basis to see what they're selling things for and they consistently have some of the highest prices in the industry, but they're still doing very well. They even have an active forum full of happy customers!

    As Seth Godin would say, they've built their own "tribe".

    I have a major grocery store directly across the street that has great prices. We shop there all the time. There's also a WalMart super store less than a mile from here.

    Yet, the 7/11 on the opposite corner is always super busy!

    How can that be, you ask? These guys charge double and triple the price of what you could get some things for directly across the street, but thousands of people go through there every day regardless. They're fast, they're friendly, they have exactly what I want and they're convenient.

    That kind of crushes the theory about price always being the number one selling point, eh?

    Put yourself in your prospect's shoes. Be honest, especially when you have to charge more than you'd like. Take care of them. Give them reasons to smile. Tell them jokes. Ask about their family, their interests, their business, etc. Take time for them and let them talk about themselves. Take notes about these things so you immediately have something personal to bring up next time you talk to them. They'll grow to like and trust you even more.

    They won't mind paying a little (or a lot) more as long as you provide a great experience for them every time they do business with you.

    Bottom line: It's not always about "offering the lowest price". Sell yourself! Be the person that YOU would want to do business with. By doing so you can build your own happy "tribe" that doesn't jump ship on you every time the see a sale price somewhere else.

    Peace.
    Live by price, die by price.

    The idea of providing "a great buying experience" is worth talking about a little further. If we use a behavioral profiling system like DISC, we'll find that the High "I"s do want that. But the other three types don't. I don't, for instance. Try to schmooze me and I'll back up. So providing a unique buying experience is only effective for a certain portion of the population. We'd better know who we're talking to before we commit to that sales strategy.

    Some people want facts and figures. Some people want a strategic value equation ("I invest this, I get that"). Some people want the security of a proven product or service. Some people want to have something others do not, and that special buying experience. But we need to find out which type of prospect we're in front of first, or else we'll be selling the wrong way.

    Give facts and figures to a prospect who wants to know how your solution affects people, and their eyes will glaze over and they'll nice you out the door.

    Bring your personality to a by-the-book personality and they'll wonder where the heck your numbers are, and dismiss you as a flake.

    There's more, a lot more, going on here.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Live by price, die by price.

      The idea of providing "a great buying experience" is worth talking about a little further. If we use a behavioral profiling system like DISC, we'll find that the High "I"s do want that. But the other three types don't. I don't, for instance. Try to schmooze me and I'll back up. So providing a unique buying experience is only effective for a certain portion of the population. We'd better know who we're talking to before we commit to that sales strategy.

      Some people want facts and figures. Some people want a strategic value equation ("I invest this, I get that"). Some people want the security of a proven product or service. Some people want to have something others do not, and that special buying experience. But we need to find out which type of prospect we're in front of first, or else we'll be selling the wrong way.

      Give facts and figures to a prospect who wants to know how your solution affects people, and their eyes will glaze over and they'll nice you out the door.

      Bring your personality to a by-the-book personality and they'll wonder where the heck your numbers are, and dismiss you as a flake.

      There's more, a lot more, going on here.

      Hi Jason,

      I understand what you're saying, though I'm not familiar with DISC and I don't "schmooze" anyone. As I tell many prospects when I call them "I'm only looking for people that are looking for me".

      That's exactly why qualifying questions are so important. I have a series of questions that I ask all new customers that helps me identify several things, including what products I should mention first and in what quantity, as well as if they're someone I'd be interested in dealing with long term.

      If I have a buyer that constantly picks me apart on price then I'll be the first one to tell them that they should probably go elsewhere. I've had some people on the books in the past where, over time, I didn't feel that they were a good fit anymore and I trashed their account.

      I choose who I deal with and do so (mostly) on my own terms. There's nothing like dreading having to call someone that you're not comfortable with.

      Regarding personality types, one of the biggest benefits of working for ourselves is the ability to create a "tribe" of individuals that we're comfortable doing business with. Although I'll gladly take money from anyone that has a need for what I'm offering, I'm really only interested in doing business with "like minded" individuals. Since I'm currently a one person operation, there's no way that I can be "everything to everyone" anyway.

      Even when I used to work in phone rooms (in this industry) we'd be constantly passing accounts around because we either got tired of dealing with them or knew that customer needed to deal with a different type of personality.

      I also have a limit on how long I'll continue to follow-up with a prospect/customer. I'll ask them straight up if they ever intend to buy anything. It shocks some people. Time is money. They either will or they won't.

      Also, by building my own group of customers I'm creating a work environment that I enjoy (most days) and my customer service is almost non-existant. As a matter of fact, since I began working independently in this industry back in late 2001, my return rate is well below 1%. I have had 3 UPS damaged products during that time, but all have been paid for by UPS.

      I guess what it comes down to is simply sorting through prospects to find people that are a good fit mutually. It takes time and, because of attrition, it's a constant work in progress, but it's what works best for me.

      It's a given that some people will look at some things differently. Whatever works best for them.
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