For any of us old enough to remember, The Paul Harvey show, was a must listen to radio program heard round the globe on a daily basis. Full of interesting facts and tidbits, the best part of the show was arguably the last segment, where he shared an engaging story, and left us dangling with the familiar phrase “the rest of the story.” For those of you who forget, or others who are far too young to remember, the phrase was a “teaser” a way to get you to stay tuned (during the commercial) for when he would share the story behind the story.
Well, while Paul Harvey may be a little dated, his message certainly is not. If you want to succeed, if you want to close more sales, and if you want to quit losing prospects due to price, you need to channel your inner Paul Harvey. In other words you need to make sure you are telling the “rest of the story.”
If your customers are leaving you due to price if it because they believe price is all you have to offer. If your prospects are choosing your competitors over you, it is because they believe that price is all you are selling. If you want to never lose on price again, then you need to start selling risk and value, and stop selling price.
You have to understand what your customers and prospects gain from doing business with you, and what they would lose if they chose to do business with someone else. Let me give you an example, a few years back, I was hired by a CEO of an accounting software company located in the Southeast. Their clients were small manufacturers through the United States and Canada. For years, the company had experienced consistent growth, and healthy bottom line; then 2008 hit, and everything started to change. Competition increased, sales calls got more challenging to make, and clients became more price sensitive.
My client called me because his sales team was begging him to drop prices, as that was the only way the felt they could compete. His problem was he felt he had dropped the prices as far as he could, margins were as skinny as he felt he could go. He was at a loss of what to do, as they were losing deal after deal over price.
Well for most of us, unfortunately, this sounds familiar, right? The solution, and the only way to turn things around is change the conversation; get the focus off of risk and value and on to price. In other words, he (and you) needed to implement three strategies, three ideas that will unlock your inner Paul Harvey, ensuring you tell the rest of the story.
- Know Your Value and Know Your Risk – first, the good news, you currently have clients willing to pay for what you offer, clients who not only don’t complain about you prices, they gladly pay them. You need to understand why? What is it that they believe they are getting that is worth the price you are asking?
For my client, it was so simple. His clients; as small manufacturers were price sensitive, but price meant so much more than cost of the software. When we spoke with them, we found out that the fact that my client had been in business for more than 20 years was worth its weight in gold to his current customers. They were tired of their “cheaper” software companies selling and changing hands constantly, and starting over with new companies and new versions of software was a huge hidden cost. They loved the fact that everyone on his team was knowledgeable and knew the product; they could talk to anyone 24/7 and get support and help. Lastly, they loved the fact that his team answered the phone yes, no phone trees, no messages, always a live person. For them, these things were more than worth their weight in gold, and well worth the price he was asking.
- Choose The Right Clients With The Right Prospects. Once you identify which clients are willing to pay more, you need to identify what they have in common. In other words what your “type” is. Here is a news flash, not everyone is willing to pay for what you have to offer, so the better you identify who is, the better job you will have of selecting the best prospects; prospects, that just like your customers, are willing to pay your price.
For my client, we identified that companies between ten and twenty million in sales; those that had a CEO who had come up through the company to earn his position, and companies that were customer centric, meaning they placed high value on customer service, where his sweet spot. The more we did to identify and “type” his customers, and match his prospects to this “type” the more deals he closed and the less price became an issue.
- Tell The Rest of The Story – with all the hard work done; the research uncovered as to what his clients pay for, the outline of the “perfect” client/prospect uncovered, all his team had to do now what tell “the rest of the story.” In other words, as sales people, we cannot rely on customers to know and understand why they should pay more for us, that is not their job, that is ours. We have to make sure that when we “sell” we share that message, help the prospect make a fair comparison. Sure we make look like we cost more on paper, but when we share “the rest of the story” that allows the prospect to know what they are paying for, and what they can expect.
So yes, competing today is tough, and without our willingness to both understand the value we bring to the table as sales people and a company, and then ensuring we share that message with our clients, we will continue to struggle with each and every prospect relationship. But by simply channeling our inner Paul Harvey, and share the rest of the story, we can ensure that we never lose based on price again.
Business Growth Expert, Meridith Elliott Powell, works with clients to help them instill ownership at every level to ensure profits at every turn. Click here for 3 Sure Fire Tips To Get Your Team To Instill Ownership At Every Level, To Get Profits At Every Turn! Meridith is the author of several books, including her latest, Winning In The Trust & Value Economy: a professionals guide to business and sales success. When not keynoting and leading workshops, she looks for (and rarely finds) inspiration cycling, golfing or hiking her favorite trail. www.meridithelliottpowell.com