Can your buyers afford NOT to work with you?
Jane was a senior vice president with a premier global company. She always brought in the best resources to work with her executives—consultants and speakers who were the highest profile and most respected in their fields. Yet, when Arlene sent Jane a proposal for a special project they had been discussing, Jane pretended she couldn’t afford it.
Arlene, a seasoned pro in business to business sales, saw straight through this smokescreen. She knew about Jane’s pattern of buying the best. So she quickly reminded Jane of previous discussions about what she was trying to achieve, and reiterated how this program would help accomplish those goals. Jane never said another word about price, and Arlene got the deal.
The Cost of Caving
Buyers can smell fear and anxiety a mile away, and most will take advantage. Successful salespeople avoid this problem by having enough confidence—in themselves and their products—to stand firm.
If price is the only decision point for a client, red flags should be waving so furiously that you turn around and run the other way as quickly as possible. This person will become a PITA—a “pain in the ass” client who considers you a commodity. You will be nickel-and-dimed, squeezed on everything, and expected to deliver additional services at no charge.
Even when talking to great clients, many reps in business to business sales underestimate their own value. At a recent sales conference, one marketing agency suggested that up to 95 percent of salespeople compromise on price before their customers even bring it up.
Customers are willing to pay more to work with a company if:
- They receive exceptional service,
- The service translates to increased revenue and profits,
- Time to market decreases,
- The company anticipates their needs,
- The team is easy to work with, and
- The company can demonstrate proven results.
If your company, products, and solutions check these buckets, you don’t need to cut your price to attract and retain great customers. In fact, doing so can hurt your business.
When you cave on price, you:
- Lose your credibility: Your new customer will pay less than the treasured client who made the referral. And you can be sure the long-standing client will hear about this discount. Both your credibility and your good client will be lost forever.
- Lose your reputation: People in the same industries talk to each other, and word spreads quickly. You will become known as an easy mark and will rarely get your asking price again.
- Lose your best customers: If you start taking bad business and working with the wrong customers, you become known for working with them and will attract more of the same. When you work with your Ideal Clients, you gain a superior reputation, and they refer you to other Ideal Clients.
- Lose your company: If you continue to play the price game, your margins will be squeezed so tightly that you’ll have to compromise on quality, cut expenditures such as personnel, or close your doors.
Stand Your Ground
It’s our buyers’ job to get the best deal possible. But as business to business sales reps, it’s our job to let clients know that “cheap” doesn’t always cut it.
There’s always a tradeoff between good, fast, and, cheap. Think about it: Fast doesn’t come cheap, and neither does good. If you want cheap, the quality will be questionable. Cheap products fall apart. So do cheap business solutions. We’ve all had customers who managed to snag a “great deal,” only to find the wheels coming off soon after the transaction was complete. Then they had to spend even more money to fix a problem that shouldn’t have even occurred.
Every business to business salesperson knows this. And our prospects know it too. So when someone pushes you on price, stand your ground. If you don’t get the deal, consider yourself lucky. You just avoided a PITA client.
Want to learn more about attracting Ideal Clients through referrals? Visit the No More Cold Calling video page.