We all know the prospect who waits to the last minute and then tells you everything is fine except for the price. “What can you do about the price?” or “If you can match these guys’ price, the deal is yours.” or “The committee is prepared to approve the start date with you, but we need to get to our budgeted number. If you do that, we're good to go.”
When coaching clients, I like to ask them questions when they have prospects who seem to be changing the game at home plate. Here are some examples:
- What was the return on investment (ROI) at your quoted price?
- What was their compelling reason to work with you?
- Before you gave them your proposal, when you asked them if they could spend this much money with you to solve all their problems and/or realize all these gains, what did they say?
Is price really the problem? Or does the problem lie in the execution of the sales process? We shouldn’t be in a position where nothing matters at the end but price. If we find ourselves there anyway, then we must not have uncovered a good enough reason to buy, or there is not enough urgency, or we haven’t differentiated ourselves, or we don't understand the decision process, criteria, and timeline, or all of the above. In other words, we weren’t following an effective sales process. Or they’re bluffing!
Recently, I was coaching a client who faced another problem. His prospect told him at the last minute, “Your product needs to have this one other feature,” adding, “That would really make it work for us, and we'd be prepared to say 'yes' now.”
I asked my client the following questions:
- Were they already getting this feature from the incumbent? No.
- Are there other features you're providing that were important to them and that they couldn’t get anywhere else? Yes.
- And without this ‘important’ feature that they 'really need,' do they have a compelling reason to buy from you?
- Can they spend the money?
- Do they believe you understand their issues and have the capability to solve them?
- Do you understand the entire decision making structure?”
In short, doesn’t this look a lot like the price issue?
At the home stretch, your prospects have one last chance to exercise their leverage before committing to the deal. At this moment, they believe they can extract stuff from you – a better price or more features. Why not try, after all? But if you have followed the sales process correctly, then you know where your leverage really is, and you know whether or not they are bluffing.
The trouble is that they might really believe that they need these issues solved at the last minute. They need that price lower. They want the additional features. It would be just great! And even if they are bluffing, it might not be conscious. Such a devilish place to be, no?
Moving past these objections means acknowledging their concerns and requests, and then reverting back to what's really important. "I understand getting to your budgeted number is really important to you. Can I ask you a few questions about what we talked about in our first meeting?" If you do this well, they might even forget they brought it up.
Following the correct sales process for your business is critical to avoiding this endgame. Does your team have a process that they follow religiously? Do your sales managers know how to effectively coach to your process? Do they hold their people accountable to the sales process? Are your sales people getting one incremental step better every day? Maybe it’s time to find out.
If you would to see Dave Kurlan talk about the value of an evaluation, click on the link below.
If you would like to send one or more of your sales managers to a two-day Sales Leadership Intensive, or would like to learn more about it, click on the following link.
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