If you see yourself as a transactional seller don’t waste your time reading this article.
Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. In this case insanity means using price to close end of month or quarter business. Why is this insane you may ask? Because you already know what going to happen. You will very likely be chasing your prospects as the deadline passes. What’s worse, some prospects want “the deal” you offered at the end of the month, only later, when they're ready.
Let me be more specific about the downside.
- You wasted your time getting special pricing approved.
- You taught your prospect that you will cave on price.
- You stopped selling consultatively and became transactional
- You convinced yourself that the prospect was ready to buy.
- You set yourself up for disappointment.
Prospects don’t buy when you want them to for a few simple reasons. You did not uncover compelling reasons to buy or create urgency, your contact was not the decision maker, you were being played, you rushed the process, or something changed on their end without you knowing.
Prospects act when the pressure or perceived risk of inaction is unacceptable. This connects directly to fear of failure, exposure, job security or advancement or other personal reasons. We don’t buy things because we want them; we buy when we convince ourselves we need them now, even when we don’t.
The question is not what do you need to buy, but why do you need to buy it. Price concessions assume the prospect is actually ready to buy and needs to act now.
Creating urgency requires you to take a methodical, milestone-based approach. You can’t properly learn what makes it compelling to fix a problem(s) until after you have a clear understanding of what the problem is and the current or future impact.
Here is a sequence of questions you can ask which will expose or create urgency or show you that there isn’t any or not enough. When you don’t find any or enough urgency I suggest you focus on other opportunities. Insanity is just around the corner.
- What’s not working or needs to work better?
- Why is it not working?
- What is the impact of this?
- How long has this being going on?
- What have they done to address it?
- What happened as a result?
- Who else cares about this and why?
- How does it affect them?
- What is the cost (money, time, emotion, opportunity, etc.) ?
- How does this impact your contact(s)
- Are they committed to do something about it?
- When does it have to be fixed?
- What makes it compelling to act now?
Some of you are telling yourselves that you already know all of this.
The second instance of insanity occurs when we convince ourselves that what we think we heard is always what the prospect said. In truth, it’s not. In virtually every role-play or post-call debriefing I do, I hear words and phrases that expose the assumptions salespeople make. We are sure we heard them say something when, in actuality, we inferred what they said. This is because we are listening to two voices, ours and theirs. We hear our own voice first and loudest.
If you choose to use price as an incentive that’s your choice, but as a professional salesperson, you are likely selling yourself short. Patterns and habits are hard to break, the first step is being fully transparent with yourself.
If you want more transparency click on the image below and grade your sales process.