I was recently interviewed on salesopedia media and thought I would share the unedited transcript with you. I warn you…it is unedited so the grammar may not be perfect! If you are anal about grammar perhaps its best to visit my website at www.engageselling.com to read professionally edited articles!
Clayton: Welcome to salesopedia media. I am really pleased to have Colleen Francis as our guest today, welcome to the show Colleen,
Colleen: Thanks so much for having me, Clayton.
Clayton: Colleen Francis is a sales expert and founder of Engaged Selling Solutions. Colleen works for sales professionals, motivating them to reach for their highest standard for success. Working with companies of all shapes and sizes from fortune 500 to small and medium sized businesses, her expertise is helping them sell more in less timeWhat objection do you find most in the very many people you are deal with? What’s the most common one?
Colleen: Well, the most common objection that most sales people or my clients are hearing these days is your price is too high. I have to just premise that by saying though, the really is as common objections that everyone is hearing constantly, either the price is too high, don’t have the time, I’m not the decision maker, there is no fit, but really your price is too high seems to be the one my clients get the most stumped on, and the one that their potential customers throw out the most.
Clayton: And why is that one, does that one seem to be the one rises to surface all the time?
Colleen: I think it’s a couple of reasons, I think that clients or potential clients like to throw it out just to see if they can get any better price, whether they are expecting it or not. I think too, its one that they know makes sales people squirm, most sales people are terrible at handling that objection, and so makes them a little uncomfortable, so it might allow the prospect to get more of what they want or a better discount or more services from the client. It’s an easy one for the client to use because sales people are so terrible at handling it, that it usually causes them to back down or go away completely.
Clayton: So, Colleen, what would you recommend as the best way to handle that type of objection where I say to you, hey,
Colleen your price is way too high?
Colleen: The first step that is so important in handling this objection is as a sales person, you have to be one hundred percent committed and convinced that your price is not too high. You have to be able to say to yourself, “you know what, if I was in the buyer’s position, I would buy this. Because it’s such a great deal, our price is not too high!”. You need to have done your home work in advance to know really what the competitor’s pricing is, so that you know whether the customer is comparing apples to apples. Your belief system is critical to your success here, because no matter what I teach you, if, you do not believe your prices are fair, you will never be able to successfully be able to handle this objection. Your belief system is critical.
The next thing that we have to understand is what does too high mean. Most sales people, when they are handling this objection, assume that they know what too high means, so if they present a proposal to a client that’s ten thousand dollars, and that client says your price is too high, the sales person automatically thinks that too high means twenty five percent, or ten percent, or fifty percent, and so, they offer a discount based on their assumption. “Too high” is a very subjective comment, and so we need to respond by asking a question, how high is too high, or what do you mean by that, or simply repeat the statement and say, “too high?” The other thing we also have to remember is that the client is fully justified in making any comments that they want, and the worst thing that we can do is to try to justify our position, or defend our prices.
The very best sales people look at their clients square in the eye and say, you are right; our prices aren’t the lowest in the market. So they acknowledge right upfront, they say to the customer, “hey, you are right, thanks for noticing, our prices aren’t the lowest in the market. How much too high are we”, or “what do you mean by too high”. And they find out with a very granular level of detail what the price difference is. That’s critical, because I had a client say to me your price is too high, and I found out that they wanted me to come down five dollars, well, that’s perfectly within my comfort zone, and my authority. But if my client wants me to come down five thousand dollars, now we’ve got whole other issues to deal with.
Clayton: So, that said, what are some of the tips that you would recommend people to use, more like you are sort of identifying why in the client’s mind or the prospects mind, the price is too high. What are some of the tips on moving forward from that point?
Colleen: Well, a couple of things. First thing is make sure that you are always talking about price first before it’s written. If you are in front of a customer and they want a proposal from you, for example, you should never be sending that dollar figure in an email or a document, before you verbalize that price to them. Doing so will increase the likelihood that you will receive a pricing objection. One thing you can do to minimize objections, is make sure you communicate your price verbally to your client first: “its going to be ten thousand dollars, how does that sound to you”. Because now, we are face to face with the client, if they object, you have control, if you write down the price, send it out to them by email, and they don’t like it, they just wont call you back. That’s a critical step.
Here is a quick four step process that you can use in the middle of this objection handling situation. And you know what? You can use it for any objection.
The first time a customer gives you that objections, your price is too high, the very first thing you should do as a sales person is just take a deep breadth, relax, don’t say anything for about three seconds. Just pause, and look at your customer and just gather your thoughts. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, that three seconds of silence actually causes the customer to say more, which is good. Because they will explain the situation. So sometimes, if you just take a breath, then they are going to explain what they mean by too high, and you don’t have to even ask the question.
Step one is to pause, take a breath, relax.
Step two is to acknowledge and appreciate the customer by saying, “hey, thanks for sharing that with me.” Or, “you are right, we aren’t the lowest priced”, or “I appreciate you noticing that,” or “I appreciate your honesty”. Something that, is like a little mini compliment, that makes them feel good about asking the question. We don’t want to make them feel bad.
The third step is to then ask the question, “what do you mean by too high?” or “how much too high is it,” or “it sounds like you’ve found a better priced product in the market place”, “what else are you looking at?” There are so many questions that you have to pick the ones that’s relevant to your situation. And then step four is to listen to the answer, most sales people that I experience are really good at asking the question, explaining the question and answering the question themselves all in one breath, when really what they need to do is just ask a really short question.If you just say, “how high is too high?”, or “what do you mean by too high?”, and be quiet, you will get a nice long answer.
Once the client has explained about the pricing, I would usually say something like, so , “if we can’t get our price down to that lowest level, does that mean there is no chance that we have going forward?” Or I might ask, “so pricing is your only consideration?” I want to find out, unequivocally, are they only making their decision based on pricing or is there something else. I am hoping that there is going to be something else cause I would really like to move the conversation away from price, but I need to know, because if they say to me, “you know what Colleen, we are only buying the cheapest,” or “I don’t care, we are just going to buy the cheapest”, then I need to decide what to do with that information.
Sales people have to be prepared to walk away from business where the client isn’t willing to pay the price or the value that they are putting forward in the market place, and in order to do that, we have to be really good prospectors . Its very difficult for us to walk away from business if we have no one else to sell to in the pipeline.
Clayton: Excellent advice, and I really think your four steps are just excellent from an individuals perspective to say okay, you don’t take that pause to reflect as opposed to reacting almost in a fearful way, oh no, my deal is going to go sour or …
Colleen: It’s so much easier to do all this if you’ve got a really healthy pipeline. Really having a healthy pipeline and prospecting and having a lot of deals, is your best defense against any objections, because you can’t sell to everyone. So, if you have a lot of prospects in the pipeline, then you can say in your confidence, you know what, this is one of those deals that are just not going to happen the way I wanted, and you are more confident walking away, knowing you’ve got options.
The ironic thing is, the more business you walk away from, the more business chases you. Soon as you say, no, I don’t think this is going to work, they come back and say, oh, no, Colleen wait, we really need to do business with you.
Clayton: And isn’t that music to a sales person’s ears. If somebody wanted to learn more about you, how would they would so?
Colleen: They can visit my website, which is www.engageselling.com or they are welcome to visit my blog and post comments at www.engageselling.com/blog and thanks so much Clayton for you having salesopedia , I get a lot of great feedback on your site from my client and subscribers as well.
Clayton: Very nice for you to say that, and I do keep tabs on Colleen’s blog, I really enjoy it so I’d recommend you do so yourself, if you haven’t done so already. And that’s it for salesopediamedia this week. Thanks for listening.