Price. We salespeople are always thinking price because we think our prospects and clients are always thinking price. But we’re not really thinking about price, we’re fearing price. We’re always looking for ways to take price out of the equation, which for most of us means trying to figure a way to come in with the lowest price.
Tom Reilly argues in Crush Price Objections: Sales Tactics For Holding Your Ground And Protecting Your Profit (McGraw Hill: 2010) that not only do we need not fear price, but that for the most part price is an issue only because WE make it an issue.
Reilly opens the book with his “ten realities that shape the landscape of selling a price-sensitive environment.” Here is a taste of Reilly’s realties:
#1 You Will Hear Price Objections
#2 You Will Lose Business Because of Price
#5 Some Price Objections are Fake
#8 Salespeople Create Their Own Misery
#10 Attitude Drives Behavior
Although I’ve only given half of the 10 realities, you should have an idea of where Reilly is going based on these 5 alone. Despite the fact that you’ll lose business due to price, you alone are the key to overcoming and successfully selling your products and services without blowing your profit margin.
Chapter after chapter hits on why we sellers are more often than not the creators of the price objections we hear, or as Reilly puts it, “price objections are self-inflicted wounds.” To bolster his argument, Reilly gives the results of business-to-business buyer priority studies which have consistently indicated that cost is not only not the top buyer priority, it has never been one of the top 5 issues for buyers in any study his company has done.
OK, so price may not be the killer we sometimes think it is—if we know how to deal with it. So, how do we deal with it?
Fully 70% of the book is dedicated to giving you the tools, techniques, and strategies necessary to defeat price objections.
Reilly really does take a comprehensive approach to dealing with price objections from helping you to mentally prepare to handle them, to understanding your buyer’s motivation, to questioning techniques to probe for potential price issues, to helping your buyer look beyond the immediate price to the long-term value of your solution.
Reilly argues that to successfully deal with price objections, one must have an operating philosophy from which to work and to create a price philosophy, you have to work from a set of principles that will guide you in dealing with pricing issues. He then lays out a set of 15 price principles. A smattering:
#1 Someone Else’s Opinion Does Not Make Your Price High
#3 No One But You Cuts Your Price
#7 Preparation Is the Key to Your Success
#9 Never Assume Your Price Is Too High: Maybe the Competition Is Desperate
#12 First, Buyers Test Your Price, Then They Test Your Resolve
#14 Salespeople Cut Price Because They Can
These principles, along with the other 9, are the framework within which you determine how to address price.
Although having an overarching philosophy founded on a set of principles for handling price objections sounds great, there is still the very practical issue of HOW to deal with an objection.
Reilly doesn’t leave you hanging. He sets out a four step method of dealing with objections as they arise:
1) clarify the objection
2) classify the objection
3) decide how you will respond
4) respond to the money objection.
According to Reilly, price objections can be classified as price-based money objections, cost-based money objections, value-based money objections, game-based money objections, and procedural-based money objections. Understanding what type of objection you’re dealing with is key to understanding how to deal with it. A third of the book is devoted to laying out strategies to deal with each of the above five money objections.
If you’re dealing in the business-to-business realm and finding price to be a thorn in your side, get Crush Price Objections—it really will help you hold the line more often, even if you deal in a product or service that is becoming commoditized.
If you sell to consumers don’t think this isn’t going to help you also because it will. Many of the same strategies used in business-to-business sales are just as applicable to consumer sales.
Don’t continue to let price objections destroy your pipeline and/or your profitability.
Crush Price Objections is available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million and all find book sellers.