What do you really know about a potential buyer? Does your qualification process only consider the types of projects and revenue? What happens if you fail to pick up on the customer’s buying style?
I don’t often talk about how to get your price down. I’m more of a ‘how to get more money out of your target customer’ kind of coach. However, some of my followers are cost leaders and sometimes they need to leverage that advantage.
Too often we conflate our cost with price. There is a correlation: If your costs are higher so must your price be. But never forget that…
The marketplace sets the price for most of us.
When I sit in on the conversations (or have them recounted to me), I observe one recurring issue: The salesperson isn’t prepared for the kinds of questions clients ask.
I suspect that customers may even be trying to trip you up. Could they be that clever? I wonder…
Many years ago I found myself in search of the proper title for my position. Job titles were not a big thing at my employer, but we had a business reason to devise one for me. A preferred provider agreement needed a key organizational contact and “Tom” was not going to cut it.
I thought about the daily tasks I seemed to be responsible for. I sold things. I defined operational processes. I tried to herd salespeople. The warehouse supervisor reported to me. What am I? I could not find a parallel in other companies like ours. Everyone was either “Sales” or “Operations”.
In a negotiation, we often see either the customer or the seller try to leverage the conversation into an apples to apples comparison. In this video from Tom’s Intentional Success® Selling series he explains how to avoid the apples to apples trap.
The struggle is real. I have spent most of my professional life managing the tendencies of sales and operations teams to conflict with one another. I have a mantra and it goes like this:
“Sales’ job is to sell what Operations can support. Operations’ job is to support whatever sales sells.”
The battle field is much more sophisticated than it was when I started. We no longer rely on paper files and clip boards to do our work. I can’t just stroll over to a salesperson’s desk and find a phone number in his Rolodex or search his phone messages for the latest changes in projects. Likewise, it is nearly impossible for a salesperson to monitor all the operation and logistics processes that touch their projects.
Consider this, if you could generate a complete design and cost estimate with the push of a button and only had to choose which profit to go with, wouldn’t you spend more time trying to win higher margin jobs? Instead, the proposal process is so expensive and time consuming that once you have started the process, you cannot afford to lose opportunity. You end up selling on price instead of selling your craft. Then you do it again. Workload increases and margins shrink.
When I ask, what prompted you to start your AV business? The answer I hear most often is, “I started this company because people wanted my expertise.” They will quickly add, “I was never trained in business. I don’t think of myself as a salesperson.” Designer, programmer, technician, visionary, or specialist – small business owners are typically everything other than a salesperson. Yet, every business owner I have worked with is by far the best salesperson in their company.
In this podcast, Tom Stimson talks about rethinking how you approach the RFPs that come your way, and how it can help you get a better response to your proposals.