How To Explain To Your Prospects Why They Can’t Pay A Little And Get A Lot!

Many salespeople can struggle with handling the price objection.  Often, it is because they don’t know enough about their product/service and how it compares to that being sold against them by their ‘competitors’.  Where there is a difference in price though there is inevitably a difference in what is being offered, despite those ‘competitors’ telling prospects it is the same.  Intelligent buyers know this and in raising the objection they may only be looking to see what you know, how confident you are and if you will weaken and reduce price when challenged … in other words they’re just doing their job.  And where they can get a better product for less, then they’ve done their job well.


Here is a great lead in when faced with a cheaper ‘competitor’, based on the words of John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) – leading English art critic of the Victorian era, art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, prominent social thinker and philanthropist.


“There is hardly anything in this world that a man cannot make more cheaply and sell for less; and the person who buys on price alone is that man’s lawful prey!

there is hardly anything John Ruskin quote as at 22112018

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“How’s Harry … And Is He Still Driving Around With That Rabbit In The Back Seat Of His Car?”

standing outOne of the golden rules of selling is that people buy people first.  We need to connect with our customers.  The majority of us do it by finding common interests; sports, music, hobbies or being from a certain local area to the prospect tend to be amongst those interests more typically used.  Occasionally though people connect by being a little unusual … and it can work tremendously well.
One such example I witnessed at first hand was one of my first sales managers, Harry. My first day on the road was a strange one.  He met me on a hotel car park and I jumped in his car as he was driving for the day with me riding shot gun.  On getting in I noticed he had a large cuddly rabbit on the back seat of his car and that comically the rabbit was wearing it’s seat belt, as if it was a passenger.  The rabbit was approximately 1-1.2 metres tall (around 4 feet) and so the size of a 5-6 year old child.  As I got in I commented on the rabbit and Harry told me it was his friend Harvey (so named after the classic film with James Stewart – My Friend Harvey about a man with an invisible rabbit as a best friend).  He told me it was his daughter’s rabbit and the conversation progressed on to other things.

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„There is Always Something Beautiful About Every Signora“

As a young man I travelled around Europe for a number of years.  Each place I stayed I found work doing whatever I could to pay my bills and, on this basis I found myself selling leather goods to tourists in Florence, Italy.  News to me at that time was that Florence had a history of decorating leather with gold and the store I worked in gave presentations to groups of tourists from all over the world.  In the presentation, Mauro – a mature, suave Italian who had spent time in America and so spoke with a Chicago accent talked about the history of the city; he explained how gold decorated leather work was a part of it’s rich history and culture.  He talked to the group about how the process of applying gold leaf to the leather worked and he was accompanied by Paolo, an experienced leather decorator who embossed a fleur-du-lys symbol on various items using hot, branding irons.


As the presentation progressed Mauro moved on to talking about modern leather goods and having warmed the group up, Mauro would get one woman and one man to try on leather jackets and get the crowd to marvel at the quality and style.  The scene set, invariably at the end of the presentation numerous members of the group would purchase wallets, bags, jackets and so on.  It was a fun time and Mauro was a great orator; very charismatic and very persuasive.  He was also very stubborn though and being a devout Buddhist, should a group arrive when Mauro’s time to do his ‚mantra‘ was upon him then Mauro would refuse to present.  This presented an opportunity for me.  I’d always been interested in speaking in front of people and so I asked the store owner if I could present when Mauro wouldn’t.  I’m not sure he was initially so keen with the ‚new young guy‘ doing it, especially as a non-Italian but as none of the other staff wanted to speak in front of groups I guess I got the chance to develop and improve my presentation skill set by default.


Having watched a number of Mauro’s presentations I was familiar with what he said.  I personalised some of it to suit me rather than use exactly what he said and did although I did keep a good part of it because it worked.  I was concerned though about the jacket wearing ‚ceremony‘.  Mauro just seemed to have a knack of getting the right people to do this bit and I knew it was key to getting the tourists to buy in the store rather than go into the market stands outside selling ‚similar goods‘ for considerably less; a fact the owner frequently reminded us about before a group was scheduled to arrive.  Having conducted my first few presentations and knowing I hadn’t whipped the group up into the same frenzy that Mauro could I was keen to do this better.  Discussing it with Paolo, who said little (and so I listened when he did speak), he gave me some of the best advice I have ever been given.

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Why It’s Critical to Celebrate Your Successes and Forget Your Losses – The Power of ‘Anchors’

popping-champagneWhen a colleague of mine won his biggest order to date, I asked what he was going to do to celebrate.  “Nothing,” he said, “I’m renovating my house and I’ll put the commission towards that.”  Too many salespeople do the same and whilst that is understandable, by not celebrating them with a ‘trophy’ they miss a great opportunity to create a success anchor.  We should celebrate our successes; mark them and make them benchmarks, creating memories by having experiences or by getting something as a ‘keepsake’.

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How Not to Prospect for New Business!

email imageSometimes people in selling roles do the most incredible things.  You only have to watch any episode of The Apprentice where ideas/products/services are being pitched and within a couple of minutes maximum you’re subjected to toe-curling cringe-worthy errors and ‘must not do’s from people who make claims that they are the best salespeople in their industry, country or in the world even!


Sometimes it is a case of people not knowing better, sometimes it is because the person is instructed to do something by managers who don’t know better; in lots of both cases though it is because too many people believe that selling is easy and is not a set of skills and disciplines that should be learned and honed.  And the prospects and potential customers on the end of their approaches are subjected to some horror stories.


One of the best examples of this that I have ever been on the receiving end of is this real email which I received some time ago from a company that was interested in reselling our products/services.  Whilst it is clearly a mass emailing from a company looking to find companies to represent, it must have been drafted and approved by people with no idea of what selling is, of what it means to build rapport or desire to do business in their prospects.

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Stick or Twist?

aid675276-v4-728px-Play-War-(Card-Game)-Step-11-Version-3Anyone who has a deck of cards has at some time or other played Twist (also known as 21).  In the game you are dealt two cards, add their totals and decide to ‘stick’ with what you’ve got or to ‘twist’ and take additional cards.  The aim to get as close to 21 as you can (picture cards worth 10 and aces worth 1 or 11).  The winner is the player with 21 or the nearest figure below it. Go above it and your hand is ‘bust’ (void).

Sometimes in sales it can be like playing Twist when dealing with a prospect who won’t give any clues where you are, especially when you are selling against a competitor. Having gone through the sales process and made your offer, you are looking to gain commitment, or at least understand how you are considered amongst potential suppliers.  Suddenly your prospect stops talking to you, doesn’t answer your calls and generally leaves you feeling unsure of what is happening and what to do next.

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