Monthly Archives: August 2010

Caring Creates CompetitionProof Customers

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No doubt, you’ve recently been served by someone that obviously didn’t care: they didn’t care about their job, about their product, certainly not about you. How likely are you to select a different vendor next time?

A caring attitude and behavior seems to be way less common today, yet is a critical component of creating a CompetitionProof environment. It’s really easy to demonstrate caring. Here are a few examples: When you are working with a customer, give them your full attention. That means not checking your watch, answering the phone, multitasking, or being distracted by other activities.

Act as if the customer you’re with is the only customer you have and see what happens to your sales. Take a few seconds to see what else your customer needs from you. Surprisingly, sales people say, “Anything else?” which tends to cut off the conversation. Instead say, “What more can I do for you,” which opens to further discussion.

Remember, if you customer has to go to another vendor to get what they need, you’re highly vulnerable to competitive attack. Set up your environment to let customers know that you care. Does your screen saver say, “I’d rather be golfing?” That’s a not so subtle indicator that they may not have your complete attention.

When you show your customers that you care about them, you create a CompetitionProof impression.

Today’s post was inspired by a great conversation with colleague, Tim Richardson (http://timrichardson.com/), as he was driving to South Dakota to speak for the governor. Tim’s forthcoming book is about the impact that a caring culture has on business success.

Make Your Price a Reason to Buy

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Most sales people in most deals are faced by price objections. Of course it’s going to happen; it’s the buyer’s fiduciary duty to ask for a better price. After all, if they don’t ask, they’ll never get a better deal.

On the other hand, it’s the sales professional’s duty to keep as much margin as possible and make the sale. Yet keep in mind, if it was only about price, we would buy and sell everything on eBay.

So get used to defending your price and begin to make your price a reason for your customer to buy from you.

Here’s how:

1) Never, ever offer a discount without the buyer asking for one. Most sales people who do so think that they’re making a pre-emptive strike on a discount request. All they’re doing is needlessly giving away margin. Sales managers: retrain or release these people.

2) When a customer asks for a deal, reply, “Why are you asking for a lower price? Would you like for me to not include something that you have in mind?”

3) If the customer says, “Your price is too high,” you must find out what they mean. “Too high? What are you comparing us to?” You have no idea how to adjust the deal unless you know what “too high” means. Are you two cents too high? Two million too high? Are they comparing apples with apple pie?

4) If they continue to press for a price cut, offer, “May I explain why we charge what we do?” Then list all of the value propositions that they have found desirable. Say, “If this isn’t what you want or need, let’s talk about a smaller solution that would cost less.”

Remember that discount discussions are a taught negotiating behavior.So use that as a cue to resume value discussions and you’ll find that you’ll be CompetitionProof.