I am a value-centered guy — meaning I believe in value over price. One reason for this is that I believe it is easier to justify a higher price than a lower price. Don’t believe it? Go ahead and see how many justifications you are able to develop to rationalize selling cheap products.
"OK," you say. "I get that, but they keep asking for more."
One of the concerns that I have been hearing recently from clients is that some prospects seem to want just a little bit more. I'm told that no matter what price is justified, some argue for a little inducement added to the sale. So, what should do you do?
The concept of bargaining, while present in the American culture, is not routine. When it does take place, we use the more civilized term of negotiations. However, in other cultures, serious haggling is a custom that is taught at an early age. For example, in Latin, Japanese, African or Indian dominated countries bargaining is routine for almost all transactions; even for those that most would consider minor purchases. So, what should you do when someone wants to quibble over adding that sweetener to your price?
Without getting too exotic, there are three basic options that the salesperson can take.
Choice 1: Give them what they want and move on. This is the most chosen route of those that we know as the low-ballers. They will do whatever it takes to get the "deal" (and I use that term disparagingly). If you take this choice, you may steal the sale, however you will earn little or no return on the actual value of your product. This one is a losing proposition. Giving your product or service away is not selling; anyone can accomplish this. It provides little or no profit and establishes your products as cheap alternatives to the ‘real thing’.
Choice 2: Hold fast and justify your price by citing value. This is an excellent choice; if you have established the value of your product or service and received their approval at each individual segment of your presentation; and are able to powerfully provide a recap of those points to which they have already agreed. Among other benefits, it delivers a highly valuable product while adding status to your prospects (and yes, this is important).
Choice 3: Make a concession to earn the sale. This is also a solid choice; if you have prepared for it in advance. By this, I mean that you should have predetermined an added encouragement that has been included in your offering price. It may be used, but only if needed.
Recently, I have modified my position on this issue. Not long ago I would have only opted for Choice 2; in fact, it is still my favored position. However, I now recognize that the American culture is changing and we need to be prepared to change with it. For instance, we are now firmly in a buyer’s market. Money remains tight in many markets and, without a governmental change, the political climate provides little confidence for expectation of rapid growth in the economy.
This makes Choice 3 viable; if you have prepared for it in advance. If utilized, I very much prefer that the value and price remain firm if possible; and that any apparent concession be presented as added value and not a price reduction. In fact, I’ll go a step further and recommend that, if do prepare for this possibility and do not have to use it, consider providing it as a ‘thank you’ after the sale is consummated. This will allow you to deliver that sweetener, not as an enticement for the sale, but rather as a show gratitude for their wise decision in choosing you and your products over competitors. In other words, promise 100 percent and deliver 110 percent.
What do you think?
These are my recommendations, but what do you think? Is it OK to offer a "sweetener," if needed? Whatever you decide, always be prepared to provide 110 percent for your new clients. Remember, if you do everything right, you’ll be in a long-term, personal relationship with them. And that’s the way it should be.
Mario Rossetti has been in business for more than 35 years as a business owner, business consultant and as a director of sales and marketing for international companies. Now, as the founder of Rossetti Enterprises, he offers sales and management training and is a fixture at pool and spa trade shows. To sign up for his free e-newsletter of tips and sales advice, click here.