I hear it all the time: “They say our price is too high. Let’s lower it to be more competitive.”
Ever heard that one? Probably only for the 12th time today.
Why are we so quick to engage in a race to the bottom?
We forget that we get to choose who our customers are. Don’t we? We are not and cannot be of service to everyone. It wouldn’t be good business. In fact, it would be plain silly.
Why do we forget that we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone? We do!
Whatever happened to the price is the price? Take it or leave it.
We are not here for everyone. I’m not here for everyone.
I do not write for everyone. “Everyone” is definitely NOT my audience. I write to exclude. I write to polarize. I write for specific people. I write for people like us [sales & marketing pros] who do things like this [want to sell more stuff / move units / make more money]. I am not here to coddle. I am not here to preen. I am here to teach and to transform people. Anything less is unacceptable to me.
My classroom is similar to going to war: you’re not all going to be here in the end. And that’s OK. Like the Ritz-Carlton or Tesla, this is not for everyone.
If my tone is ever offensive to people, then good. Things sales leaders have to say occasionally do offend. And that’s OK. It means they’re paying attention. That’s a good start. Your offense doesn’t offend me, nor does it slow me down, nor does it make me want to alter my style.
If you’re in sales, nothing ought to offend you. You don’t have time for that shit. This is not about your feelings. This is about you moving more units and you making more money. Besides, your customer does not care about your feelings. Your customer cares about his feelings. Your customer cares about his well-being. Your customer cares about his family. Your customer cares about his money. Your customer cares about hisbusiness. Your customer cares about his vacation. Your customer cares about his kids. Your customer cares about his golf game. Your customer cares about his 401(k). Your customer cares about his providing for his loved ones. Note that you are nowhere in his mind. We need to change that.
Now that we’ve reset that expectation, your job is to get back into his mind and be at the front of it when he or she encounters a problem in the field. Whom do they call? They’d better be calling you or else you’re not even in the game. You’re out in left field somewhere on social media.
Please note this because it is important: your customer forgets all about the price she paid when something goes wrong in the field. Suddenly, that 25 cents a square foot she saved doesn’t seem so smart when the rep on the other end of the line never answers the call. So much for the ‘genius’ idea of trying to gouge the sales guy. She has a problem that needs solved right now. The basement has flooded. She has a perceived, dire need. Who’s going to help her?
There is no salesmanship in lowering your price. IN fact, if the customer perceives no value in what you bring to the table, no differentiation, no service, then why are you even there?
If your postulate is true, and all your customer truly cares about is price (it never is, btw), then recommend to them that they ought to simply buy on Walmart.com or on Amazon. Why wouldn’t they? If they truly only care about price, go buy online from the computers. The Cloud and the computers that comprise it are excellent at taking orders. But they are not very good at adding value, solving complex, emotional issues, and being there for people when problems arise, which they seem to regularly. People cannot call Siri or Google Assistant and complain to them about their problem. Well, they could, but they wouldn’t care for the reply. Just the facts, Ma’am. Just the facts.
There is salesmanship and courage in sticking to your price. Further, there is exceptional salesmanship in being proud of your high prices.
Take a moment right now to think about premium brands and their pricing strategy. Note that pricing strategy is a branding, sales and marketing strategy all wrapped into one. Note further that the premium brands often do not negotiate. Wouldn’t that be nice? To never have to be beaten up on your price ever again as a sales pro? I bet most of you would hand-in your 401(k) in exchange for never having to haggle over your prices again. Just to save the daily headaches and the daily dumb haggling over a dime or 10%. Such a waste.
If you sell for Lexus, you don’t have to worry about anyone kicking your ass over the price of the car because Lexus does not negotiate.
If you sell for Apple, you don’t have to worry about anyone kicking your ass over the price of the device or laptop because Apple does not negotiate.
If you sell for Tesla, you don’t have to worry about anyone kicking your ass over the price of the car because Tesla does not negotiate.
If you sell for Disney, you don’t have to worry about anyone kicking your ass over the price of the vacation because Disney does not negotiate.
These premium brands are premium for a reason: that’s their go-to-market strategy. To lower their price is to taint their pristine reputation. Why would they want to do that?
People save money for years to be able to afford a Disney vacation. I know some people who willingly, gladly plunk down $10,000 for a Disney vacation. People dream of a Disney vacation. One of my friends cries every time he sets foot on the Disney World property in Orlando, like he’s made it. Finally. After all these years of sweat and toil and struggle, he has made it to Disney World.
Who dreams of your product? Who dreams of your service?
If you’re a contractor with a pristine reputation in the marketplace and have particular positioning there, you don’t have to worry about anyone kicking your ass over price because you have the Chutzpah, the Moxie, the Brass Balls to say No to people. No is a part of your go-to-market strategy. No has power. No is power.
No pricing concessions.
No to you today. Maybe a yes to you tomorrow. Only maybe.
Walmart and Amazon drive the fastest cars in their shared race to the bottom. Why participate in that game?
Choose to play a different game. One where you set the rules of engagement. One where you pick who you do business with. One where you finally take back the power of No. Pick No. And you win.
I am a seasoned marketer and sales strategist. I believe in leadership by example. I’m constantly creating, learning and sharing. I like making complex things simple. I give value first.