By Jon Horton
It doesn?t take much to get me going. Because I believe that the ability to price aggressively will elevate sellers from good to great, I?m ready to discuss this topic at the drop of a hat. In this case, my motivation came from recent articles by two sales trainers for whom I have profound respect. With apologies to them, I?ll paraphrase a few of their words.
Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling (www.thesaleshunter.com). Mark insightfully, if painfully, points out that positioning price as a main benefit is tantamount to announcing that the salesperson has little else to offer. He adds that the customer who is interested because of price is going to ask for an even lower price in the future.
Jeff Schmidt is EVP and partner at Sparque (www.sparque.biz). He believes that most sellers badly underestimate both the ability and willingness of prospects to spend larger sums of money. As a result, the orders these salespeople write are significantly smaller than they should be. Before becoming an accomplished trainer, Jeff carved out an incredible sales career following his own mantra ? Think Big, Ask Big!
Mark and Jeff offer excellent perspectives and I encourage you to read more of their work. I typically reduce my own arguments about aggressive pricing to a simple, no-nonsense action step. Always go in high! Always. There are dozens of sound reasons for you to follow this edict. A few of the most compelling are:
? A higher price point will command a higher level of attention from your prospect. That?s a good thing. You have announced that your proposal represents serious business and merits significant discussion.
? If you are priced higher than the competition, the customer will wonder why you are more expensive. That question presents the opening you want ? the opportunity to detail the unique characteristics of your company and to firmly differentiate yourself from others.
? Regardless of your initial asking price, most prospects will insist on negotiating a better deal. By inflating the starting point, you have given yourself room to make concessions and improved the opportunity for a win-win result.
? At the risk of stating the obvious, writing contracts for larger dollar amounts means fewer sales are required for you to achieve your budget. This happy result clearly falls under the heading of working smarter, not harder.
? Oh yes. If you make an effective argument for your pricing, your prospect may simply say, ?Yes.?
I must confess that, these good arguments notwithstanding, my passion for aggressive pricing is not generally greeted with much enthusiasm. Although rewarding when done well, selling is not easy and most salespeople would prefer to avoid the additional challenge of defending high unit rates. I understand. I really do.
But I?m still disappointed by the general reluctance of sellers to embrace my approach, primarily because I?ve experienced success from aggressive pricing. I suppose I was fortunate because I?ll readily admit that I didn?t actually make a decision to charge more than my competition. That decision was made for me by a manager (owner, actually) who refused to sell inventory for less than fair value, irrespective of how it was priced by others.
My choice was simple ? become proficient at justifying my premium prices or wash out as a seller.
I chose the former and you can, too. I know that some of my readers will seize this opportunity and enjoy great results. I also know that some of you will count your blessings that I?m not your manager. I understand. I really do.
Jon E. Horton is the author of The 22 Unbreakable Laws of Selling, available in both paperback and Kindle versions from Amazon.com. For more of his blogs, please visit www.JonEHorton.com. Comments to Jon@JonEHorton.com.
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