Ever since currency (money) was invented to replace the barter system salespeople have used price reductions to win sales. Price is still the most universal determiner and the most easily understood rationale for whether one purchases or does not purchase a good or service. And so most people default to price to make a buy/sell decision. It’s easy but it should never be what makes or breaks a sale.
The price one pays for a product or service is determined by supply and demand, quality, desire, need, cultural norms or even a momentary impulse. Some folks unquestioningly pay the sticker price while others are compelled to bargain a price down no matter how low it already is. But what if you’re the seller. How low do you go?
Benjamin Franklin had this unique bargaining style. When someone insisted he lower his price before they would buy, Franklin would increase his price. The harder they would try to get his price down the higher Mr. Franklin’s selling price became. Social engineering has fostered our belief that a seller’s price is artificially inflated to begin with and that a seller desperately needs to make the sale. First rule … do not inflate your price and you will not be desperate for a sale. That rule said and adopted, when you are in a selling situation and your potential buyer begins to negotiate on price alone … stand your ground. If you believe your price is just … stand your ground and become a collaborative seller.
As a collaborative salesperson you must, at this point, remind yourself that you are really not a seller at all, but an adviser, an ally and a partner to your prospect. Can you feel the dynamics already beginning to shift? Of course! Because you are not our prospect’s adversary, you are his ally trying to insure he gets the best deal possible. So even if your prospect can’t yet sense and therefore appreciate that shift in dynamics in his favour, YOU are on HIS/HER side.
Understand, that by lowering a just price you threaten to undermine the stability of your company, your industry and your integrity to say nothing of your prospect’s ability to judge value. As a collaborative salesperson however you instinctively understand that there is always more behind a prospect’s desire to get the price down. Perhaps it’s just his negotiating bravado, or he may truly not have enough money right now. He may believe his value as a buyer in the eyes of his superiors will be compromised if he doesn’t force you to your knees. It may be his personal feelings of inadequacy, or some physical/emotional stress at play. Perhaps she sincerely desires your product, does not have the money and is just using your alleged high price as a way to back away from the sale to save face. Males more than females need to save face. Females are far more open and honest about their motivations. Need I say that there are a million subtle reasons for your prospects to get you to lower your price … most of which have nothing to do with your value or the value of your product or service.
Your job as a truly collaborative seller is to determine your prospect’s real motivations and either politely end the meeting, or do everything in your power, short of an arbitrary price-drop, to make a deal that works for him. If the price must come down the prospect must also be satisfied with something less. Perhaps you can help your prospect spread his purchase over a longer period of time to make things more cash flow friendly. You may be able to combine your prospect’s order with the order of another buyer to trigger a volume discount for both customers. If the price can’t come down you may be able to offer your prospect more accommodating payment terms. Your prospect might agree to become an advocate for your product and help you gain access to other buyers in his industry with whom he has influence.
My point is this … becoming your prospect’s ally and partner instead of his adversary opens the door to so many more buy/sell possibilities. If your prospect’s motivations for meeting with you are honourable and you help him/her achieve his/her success, whatever that may be at that time, you WILL make the sale.