Best Stuff vs. The Right Stuff
The Brooks Group on Establishing Value
Find out what quality has to do with getting your full price,
rate, or fee. It's not what you think. If your customers are haggling
with you over price, you need this advice.
If you want to earn a serious income as a salesperson, you must understand
not only what "quality" really is, but what it has to do
with how much your prospects are willing to pay for the products or
services you sell. You need to know how viable the quality of your
product or service is as a competitive advantage: In some cases, it
may be the single most important reason your prospect buys.
"But I can't sell on quality
ours aren't really the best
on the market."
Most salespeople believe that quality means "best." But
quality does not really mean best. Quality means conformance to standards
and expectationsyour prospect's standards and expectations.
Quality means the right stuffnot the best stuff.
Quality is the correct stuff for your prospect's requirements and
needs, not the best stuff made.
For example, what is a quality tire for your car? The only way to
answer that question is to ask another question or a series of questions:
What are you going to use the car for? Are you going to race it? Or
drive to work in the snow? Go out and buy the best racing slicks you
can get, put them on your power-traction wheels, and see how fast
you can accelerate in six inches of snow. Or put racing slicks on
your front wheels and see how fast you can stop on wet pavement, going
downhill. You might say that you bought the "best tires money
could buy," but you'll be disappointed in their performance under
Avoiding the "Your price is too high" objection
If you want to avoid the "your price is too high," conversation
with prospects, you'd better have "the right stuff." Selling
certainly includes telling your prospects that your offering is the
correct product (and why it's the right stuff) for them. But if your
offering is not the right stuff if you're selling high
quality walnut wood and your customer only needs cheap plywood, for
example the only way you'll get your customer to buy
the wrong stuff is to cut your price. If they're building fine furniture,
they might buy your walnut. But if they're putting in subflooring,
they won't: They don't need it, don't want it, and can't afford it.
The only way you'll sell them high quality walnut for subflooring
is to cut your price.
If you don't have the right stuff for your customer the
quality of products or services that conform to his or her standards
and expectations you have a problem. You will never get
full price, rate or fee for products or services if you try to sell
your prospect the wrong stuff for the specific application
he or she needs it for
you'll be selling high quality walnut
at the price of plywood!
"But I sell a commodity - and people buy commodities solely
Many salespeople feel that they're in a commodity business, and they
believe because of that, they absolutely must sell on price. But nothing
is further from the truth. Selling a commodity doesn't mean that you
automatically must sell it on price.
A commodity, by definition, is any item that cannot be easily distinguished
from others in the marketplace something that is in direct
competition with a large number of other extremely similar products
or services. For example, suppose we have two water glasses for sale
that are identical in terms of size, shape, appearance, etc. If we
tell you one sells for two pennies and the other sells for one penny
(and you're buying water glasses - not wine glasses), which one are
you going to buy? You're going to buy the one-penny glass, of course,
because all other things being equal, people buy on price, right?
But that's just not true. Other things are seldom, if ever, really
equal. What if you don't like the salesperson who is selling you the
glass? What if the glass won't be shipped to you until next month?
What if the vendor only has 8 glasses, and you need 12?
It is the salesperson's job to make sure the customer knows: (1) that
other things are not equal, and (2) the he or she should buy the salesperson's
(higher priced) commodity item because it's actually a better deal.
And it's a better deal because the service is better, the delivery
is better, the salesperson is better, and so on. The product or service
may be identical to others in the marketplace, but all the things
involved in getting the product or service to the customer differentiate
one vendor from all the others.
There is ample evidence that even when the product is equal to anotheridentical
productpeople don't always buy on price. Think of your
neighborhood convenience store. Typically, just about every item you'll
find in a convenience store is more expensive than it is in a grocery
store. The very fact that convenience stores exist proves that people
will pay more for the exact same product (as long as there is some
valuable differentiation in this case, convenience). Milk is
sometimes as much as $1.50 more a gallon at a convenience store. But
If you get a craving for some cookies in the cupboard at 11:00 at
night, but you don't have any milk, chances are very good that instead
of driving all the way to your grocery store, you're just going to
run up to the convenience store, pay more for the milk and get home
so you can have cookies and milk while you watch Leno.
The final word
As a salesperson, you MUST differentiate your company's product and
services from your competitor's some how, some way. That is what selling
is all about. Otherwise, a computer could answer the phone, direct
the customer to a price quote on the web, and all orders could be
filled digitally as well.
Think about the last time a prospect told you they could get the same
product or service at a lower price. Was it really the exact same
thing? What were the differences between your product and the other
guy's? The way you deliver it? The service you offer?
The facts are, other things are never equaland even if
the product or service is identical to another, prospects rarely buy
only on price. Remember: consumers and corporate buyers say
they do because they're trying to get you to cut your price. But their
behavior belies their words!
Your goal with every prospect should be to find out what his or her
standards and expectations are and which of your products or
services can best meet them. That way, you'll get the price, rate
or fee you ask for, and you'll have customers who perceive you as
a high-quality salesperson.
The Brooks Group is a Sales and Sales Management Screening, Development,
and Retention company that has helped more than 2,000 organizations
in 500 industries transform their businesses by focusing on building
and sustaining top-performing sales, sales management and business
development programs. Click
here to sign up for The Brooks Group's Free Sales Training Newsletter,
The IMPACT Sales Bulletin, or contact The Brooks Group at: www.TheBrooksGroup.com
or (800) 633-7762.
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