Is Pricing or Selling The Problem?

If you are a sales manager or owner you probably hear the same things I do related to pricing. Sales people will say they need to discount for this or that. It is either a competitive situation or a loyal customer deserves a good deal. My stance is to not discount as a practice but be open to negotiations if needed for the right reasons. When one salesperson is consistently having pricing issues or objections you probably don’t have a pricing problem you have a selling problem. This is how I address the problem.

You first need to realize the problem lies in the perceived value of your product or service by the customer related to the price. Most likely the salesperson is taking short cuts while selling or product dumping to convince someone to buy. They have strayed from the fundamentals of discovery to uncover buying motives, problems, goals or needs. Michael Bosworth’s book Customer Centric Selling is a great resource to help a sales person understand discovering needs. You can also take a look at my article on Discovery Appointments as a quick reference and sales tool.

Have the Salesperson prepare questions (written down) before their appointment and have them show them to you. Make sure they are questions that will help the salesperson understand the customer, their business, their problem and their goals. Don’t let them just leave with questions related to how many widget they think they need. When they return debrief the salesperson. Don’t ask them what they sold; ask them about the answers to the questions they listed. Find out if they asked the questions and what they learned. If they did not, do it again for the next appointment. Let them know you don’t care if they sell anything on the appointment but they need to come back understanding the customers needs.

Keep it up until they see the value in doing this. Once they understand the customer problem, presenting your solution will carry more value and pricing will begin to become less of an issue.

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