Every Purchase is a Compromise

February 28th, 2018

Every Purchase is a CompromiseEvery salesperson wishes they sold the perfect product or service. And some salespeople believe they sell the perfect one. But “perfect” doesn’t exist.

Because the reality is that every purchase we make is a compromise. From food, to clothing, to where we live, to legal representation, everything we buy is a compromise among myriad factors.

Let’s say you’re buying a new computer. Among the tradeoffs involved are:

• Quality
• Screen size
• Portability
• Processor speed
• Memory
• Ease of use
• Customer service
• Price

Or you’re shopping for a new car. There are even more tradeoffs to consider, including:

• Performance
• Cargo capacity
• Passenger capacity
• Exterior styling
• Fuel economy
• Safety
• Handling
• Legroom
• Ride comfort
• Ground clearance
• Color
• Luxury
• Reliability
• Price

Which means, whatever you sell, it represents a compromise for your buyer. And the important question for you is: What is your prospect willing to compromise on and what are they not willing to compromise on?

And the way you determine that is by asking them questions. Lots of questions, to learn their wants, needs, priorities, values, concerns, goals, preferences, fears, budget, and more.

The more you know about your prospect, the easier it is for you to make the case that your product or service—while not perfect—is the best compromise for them.

Seven Dangers of Selling on Price

February 20th, 2018

Seven Dangers of Selling on PriceToo many salespeople—and too many companies, for that matter—rely on the tactic of beating everyone else’s price in order to make the sale. And it’s understandable why: Price is always an issue for buyers, and dropping your price to match—or undercut—a competitor’s price is an easy thing to do, requiring no thought or effort.

But while selling on price may secure you a quick sale or two, it’s extremely dangerous in the long run. Here are seven reasons why.

1. You will always be on the defensive.
No matter how low your price is, somebody out there will beat it. Which means you will always face price pressure on every deal. And you will always have to go lower.

2. You encourage your clients to be disloyal.
If the message you communicate to your buyers is “Price is all that matters,” then they’ll believe you. And the moment a competitor offers them a lower price, they’ll switch. Because that’s what you trained them to do.

3. You will work much harder and for less money.
Lower margins mean less profit and smaller commissions. So you have to close more deals just to survive.

4. You are making yourself obsolete.
The Internet has changed everything. It’s now possible to buy almost anything online without ever interacting with a live human being. If the only thing you’re bringing to the table is a low price, what the hell does a buyer need you for?

5. You are doing a disservice to your customer.
The lowest-price option is not necessarily the best option for a buyer. A good salesperson helps a prospect figure out which product or service will best help them solve their problem or achieve their goal and educates them as to why spending more money is worthwhile for them.

6. Your client may hate you.
If you don’t educate your buyer and simply sell them the cheapest thing, it may not be effective for them. And if the customer isn’t happy, the person they’ll blame is you.

7. You will lose the sale to someone who CAN sell on value.
Study after study has found that price is consistently at or near the bottom of the list of criteria that buyers use to make their purchasing decisions. Which means that a salesperson who can address those other, more important criteria is going to win the deal.

Selling on price may seem like a smart thing to do, but it’s really the opposite. Highlight what makes you better than your competition, justify your higher price, and focus on what will best help your buyer. You may lose an occasional deal with a rare person who is only price-focused, but you’ll more than make up for it with increased sales, higher profits and commissions, and stronger customer loyalty.

Are They Really a Prospect or Are You Just Wasting Time?

February 13th, 2018

Are They Really a Prospect or Are You Just Wasting Time?As a salesperson, business owner, or professional, you only have so much time. And if you want to maximize your sales, you can’t afford to waste that precious time with people who are never going to buy from you.

Which means you need to figure out—as quickly as possible—whether someone is an actual prospect or not. How can you tell? A real prospect has four qualities:

1. A Need
This may seem obvious, but too many people try to sell to everyone, regardless of whether or not they have a need. It’s a behavior you frequently see at trade shows, where booth staff try to talk every passerby into checking out their product or service, never even attempting to determine whether or not the attendee might have a need for it. You also see it at networking events, during cold calls, and on LinkedIn. Understand that if someone doesn’t have a need for what you sell, they’re not a prospect!

2. A Budget
Odds are, there are lots of people who have a need—or at least a desire—for what you sell. But not all of them can afford it. The ones who can, are potentially your prospects. They ones who can’t, aren’t. At least not right now. They may acquire the necessary budget in the future, but until then, they aren’t a prospect. If they have some budget, but not quite enough…maybe you can negotiate. Or help them find another financing source. Or recommend a cheaper alternative. But if they have no budget—or your price and their budget are way off—then it’s not going to happen.

3. Authority
Does the person you’re talking with have the authority to make a decision? If they don’t, they’re not the prospect. They might be an influencer, but they aren’t the buyer themselves. It’s easy to spend a lot of time with such a person, because they have a need and the budget to do something about it. But until you can talk with the actual decision-makers, you don’t have a true prospect on your hands.

4. Motivation
The person has a need, a budget, and the authority to make a decision. But do they have the motivation to act? Too often, they don’t. The person may not perceive the problem to be much of an issue. Or they think the problem will go away on its own. Or they may not see the opportunity that you do. Or they may believe other needs are more of a priority. Whatever the case, the person is not motivated to take action, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. This is the hardest person to walk away from, but walking away is precisely what you must do. Because a person lacking motivation is not going to buy.

Sales amateurs treat everyone as a prospect. Sales professionals know there isn’t enough time in the world for that. If you want to make the most of your limited time, you need to focus that time on the people who are actually likely to buy—people with a need, a budget, the authority to make a decision, and the motivation to act. A person who lacks any of these characteristics may be a great ally, information source, or friend, but they aren’t a prospect.

Understand this crucial distinction and make it a point to determine as quickly as possible whether any given contact has all four qualities or not. The less time you spend chasing people who won’t buy, the more time you can spend with people who will.

Why You Should Never Satisfy Customers

February 6th, 2018

Why You Should Never Satisfy CustomersMany companies proudly state that “We want you to be completely satisfied” or “100% customer satisfaction guaranteed” or similar sentiments. And while customer satisfaction seems like a good idea—you don’t want your customers to be upset, after all—it’s actually a recipe for disaster.

Here’s why.

If a customer is “satisfied” with you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re happy. It just means they aren’t dissatisfied. That’s a pretty low bar.

A satisfied client is a neutral client. They got what they expected. The experience didn’t suck. Whoopee.

You get no points for doing what was expected. You get no credit for leaving your customer in a neutral state of mind. You’re acceptable. You’re okay. You’re decent.

Which is dangerous. Because a satisfied customer will go to one of your competitors for the slightest reason—a lower price, a new product, a little closer to them, whatever. Often a satisfied customer will try someone else just for the novelty. After all, what have they got to lose? If all they are is satisfied with you, then you’re just an option to them.

A delighted customer, however—a customer who loves you—will stick with you. They’re far less likely to try another company because they already know they’re going to have an exceptional experience with you, and the odds of having a similar experience with your competitor are minuscule.

Which means if you want to boost your customer loyalty, you need to leave your customers more than satisfied. You need to leave them feeling:

• Happy
• Grateful
• Relieved
• Proud
• Delighted
• Cared about
• Excited
• Confident
• Appreciated
• Special
• Thrilled
• Surprised
• Ecstatic

That’s a lot harder to do. Which is why so few companies attempt it. But those that do see stronger customer loyalty, better word of mouth, more sales, and higher profits.

If customer satisfaction is your goal, you’re aiming too low. You can and should do better. It requires more effort, but you’ll reap more rewards. Don’t ever be satisfied with satisfaction.