The sale is in the difference Your difference.
How different are you? Or better stated, how different from your competition do your customers and prospects perceive you to be? Thats reality.
Whatever you say on a sales call, you can pretty much count on your competition saying the same thing. Banks, attorneys, copier companies, ad specialty companies, air conditioners, staffing companies, or whatever, are perceived by the customer as pretty much the same.
“Its our people, its our service, its our quality!” You exhort. Well, sort of. But thats not easily discernable if YOU look like, and act like, and say the same as your competition.
And so, to differentiate yourself you try to reduce your price.
And then you begin to think, “Were in a commodity business.”
And then you begin whining to your boss that your prices are too high.
Two of the dirtiest words in selling are: Lowest price.
Everyone loses in the price battle:
Low price leads to proposals and bidding.
Low price means no customer loyalty (the next guy who comes along with a lower one gets the business).
Low price means lower profits (lack of money to grow) and commissions (lack of money to keep key people).
Lower price means less services provided to the customer. Bad idea.
If you are in the “battle of the prices,” or, If youre thinking that your buyers are “price oriented” people,” or, if you are thinking youre in a “commodity” business, you are wrong. In reality, you are in a “no perceived difference” business. Or worse, a “no perceived value beyond the stuff youre selling” business.
The difference (this may hurt) is YOU the salesperson. Your actions, statements, and responses determine how the prospect or customer PERCEIVES you. If you are perceived as different (better) you may not have to fight price or (worse) proposal.
If you are perceived the same as the rest, you will lose to whomever has a lower price than you. Or really lose if you are the lowest price. Lowest price also means lowest profit.
Then you begin the downward spiral of doom. The more you fight price competition, and sell low price the more the “low price/low profit” spiral intensifies. This process is erroneously called, “getting competitive.” should be called, “no one makes any money.”
SITUATION: Look at the long distance phone companies. Three years ago long distance phone rates were 1525 cents a minute. Now you can get long distance as low as 57 cents a minute. How low will it go? As low as the corporate short term thinkers (AKA butt coverers only concerned with “shareholder value” instead of concentrating on customer value) will let it.
ALTERNATIVE CONCEPT: As soon as someone puts value into the long distance rate equation, prices will stabilize or increase.
SOLUTION: Suppose for example that your long distance phone company, in addition to their service, provided you a two year training program that showed you a way to use the phone to double your sales. Would you care if their rate was five cents or nine cents a minute? Of course not, you want to double your sales, and a few extra cents a minute for phone calls is a small price to pay.
CHALLENGE: What differentiating values could you add that would attract your customer’s attention, keep the ones youve got AND allow you to raise prices? Think about it. Believe me if you spent time creating value differentiators instead of whining about your prices, youd be a billionaire. Not a bad thought.
Thats just one example what else can you do, use, create, change to begin the process of differentiation and value in the mind of the customer?
If you want to get away from “price” death, and into the area where “value” lives, you gotta get the customer to begin to recognize you as different from your competition.
Heres the “value” answer in a nutshell, but I issue you this fair warning: The information youre about to read is painful. It will mean more work and more study on your part. Ready? Your customer is looking for four things:
1. How to sell their stuff.
2. How to make a profit.
3. How to keep his customers loyal.
4. How to have no problems.
If youre not an expert in those four things, youre in trouble. And youll sell price. If you are an expert in those four things, theyll buy value. Your choice.
Free GitBit Want to know what the customer really wants? Go to www.gitomer.com and click Free Stuff, then click GitBit. Register (if youre a first time user) and enter the secret word “CUSTOMER WANTS”
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
1999 All Rights Reserved Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written
permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/3331112