Justify It Or Drop It

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Dave Anderson - Also by this author

<>Auto Dealer Daily
How do you handle price objections? If you’re bereft of ideas in this arena, your only tool to handle price objections will be to lower the price. When you make your living on commission, dropping the price is an expensive way to overcome objections. Yet, salespeople choose this strategy time after time, almost reflexively. However, there is a more effective and profitable alternative: justifying the price. At this week’s meeting, talk about what you can do throughout the sales process to justify your price so you don’t have to drop it.
1. Justification Rule #1: The more you differentiate your product, your service and yourself from competition, the less price sensitive prospects become—and the easier it is to justify your price.
2. Justification Rule #2: The less you differentiate your product, your service and yourself from competition, the more price sensitive prospects become—and the tougher it is to justify your price.
The above rules are simple but profound when guiding you to more profitable sales. Thus, you’ve got to honestly assess what you do throughout the sales process to convincingly differentiate yourself, your product and your company and, thus, justify the price you ask. Here are a few thought starters to help refine your thinking:
A. How does your product knowledge, professional appearance or proficiency at the sales process differentiate you from others in your field? Do you ask the right questions? Do you really listen to the answers? When you present the product, do you focus on what the customer is truly interested in, or do you dump too much information on them and hope they sort it out? If you do a better job of getting the prospect to buy into your character and competence, you’ll have an easier time getting them to buy into what you’re selling and its price. You must find ways to differentiate yourself from every other stereotypical salesperson in the marketplace.
B. What real advantages does your product have over the competition and do you know enough about it to communicate it effectively? Your product’s advantages are worthless if you don’t now them or do know them but can’t communicate them effectively. The key to selling against the competition is to investigate and determine what the prospect’s hot buttons are: performance, appearance, economy, etc., and then comparing your product to the competitive product in those specific areas of the highest customer interest. Comparing everything your product offers to everything theirs offers is exhausting, confusing and largely irrelevant to the prospect. Few products can withstand the scrutiny of a line-by-line comparison. Determine the prime buying motives, and compare against those lines. This raises your product’s value and, as a consequence, justifies price.
Sales professionals justify the price throughout the sales process, not just when it comes time to play show and tell with the selling figures. They manage the customer’s perception by raising the value of their product through personal, professional skill and selective and effective presentation. You can always lower your price as a last resort to save the sale and make the deal, but doing so shouldn’t be your first impulse once a customer balks. It should be after everything else has failed. After all, any amateur can make a product cheaper. It takes a professional to build enough value to make the price make sense.

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