Greg perched on the edge of his chair, holding his breath. If he made this sale, he'd be sitting pretty for the rest of the quarter.
His client, Brenda, shuffled through a stack of manila file folders. She pulled out one with Greg's name on it and opened it. Greg's proposal was inside. Brenda picked it up and said, "I read this and you met all our specifications"
The corners of Greg's lips began to curl up in a smile.
"But, we got another quote. The other price is $12.32 cheaper, and I decided to go with that," she said.
Greg's jaw dropped so far, his chin practically rested on his chest. "I can't believe you chose someone else for such a piddly little amount," he sputtered. "Not after we've been doing business together for years."
Brenda shrugged. "Honestly Greg, you're just not worth the extra money."
Greg's eyes flew open. His sheets were damp with sweat. What a horrible dream, he thought.
Struck by another thought, he sat up. What if he did lose Brenda's business over a small chunk of change? What if his nightmare really did come true?
Every salesperson loses sales. When you lose because of a small difference in price, it's frustrating. Why doesn't the customer see you're worth every penny?
Day in, day out, you must prove value. Use these seven tips to help you get the job done and sell more.
Tip One: Talk about benefits.
Products have benefits, features and advantages. Benefits sell. Features explain how benefits are created. Advantages explain why you get the job done better than the competition.
Imagine selling customized luggage. Customers who choose your luggage can easily spot their suitcase at airport baggage claims. That's the benefit. This luggage comes in 10 fluorescent colors, and is customized with a customer monogram. That's the feature. No other luggage manufacturer has a product like this. That's competitive advantage.
Benefits answer the question, "What's in it for me?" When customers balk at price, recap benefits.
Two: Communicate clearly so value is understood.
Be specific. Avoid run-on sentences. Run-on sentences string thoughts together. Here's an example of a run-on sentence. Read it aloud. Our luggage is easy to spot it at the airport because you choose your own color and we put your monogram on it and no one else does that.
Now try this. Our luggage is easy to spot it at the airport. You choose your own color. We put your monogram on it. No one else does that.
When you keep sentences short and focused on only one point, customers find it easier to follow your train of thought. Customers who grasp the point you're making are more likely to buy.
Three: Clarify to discover which benefits the customer views as important.
Many products offer benefits that the customer doesn't need or want. Find out what the customer thinks is important by asking questions to learn:
- Which benefits are absolutely required?
- Which ones are desired, but not required?
- Which ones would be nice to have?
- Which ones are unimportant?
Focus on benefits that matter to the customer in order to create the perception of value.
Four: Increase your likability factor.
We all want to buy from people we like, so look for ways to be more likable. Make eye contact. Smile when appropriate. Respect the customer's views. Relax and enjoy the time you spend with them. By increasing your likability factor, you add value to the sales process. Often the added value is enough to overcome small price differences.
Five: Eliminate one bad listening habit.
More often than we think, we tune customers out when they're speaking because we think we know what they intend to say. Instead of giving an incoming message full attention, our minds get busy and formulate a response. Sometimes, we cut customers off in the middle of a sentence because we can't wait until they finish before jumping in to make our point.
Planning replies before customers finish speaking is a bad listening habit. By breaking the habit, you'll learn more in every sales conversation and find new ways to demonstrate value.
Six: Offer proof.
You explained the benefits, described the features and explained why you're superior to the competition. Now, take the next important step and offer the customer proof. Proof comes in many forms including testimonials, white papers, case studies and references. It eliminates risk for buyers and shores up claims. You know you're telling the truth. Offer proof, and customers will know it, too.
Seven: Learn to do a better job of closing.
Closing conversations provide insight on customer definitions of value. Closing helps you understand why customers hesitate to buy. Sometimes, price causes hesitation. When that's the case, ask questions to determine what value the customer seeks. Look for ways to tip the scale in your favor and make the sale.
Customers buy value. Benefits create value for your customers. Offer proof that benefits are real. Find ways to be more likable and listen better. Use closing to determine if the customer believes your product is worth their price. When closing, recap your benefits one more time to remind customers of their value.
No one pays more for any product than they believe it is worth. Understand how value is created and use your knowledge to sell more.
Linda Bishop is an author of "Selling in Tough Times" and President of Thought Transformation. She can be reached at (770) 846-3510 or email@example.com.