Value Trumps Price – Consultative Selling Pays
Consultative selling techniques are key to winning sales where premium prices are the norm. With a focus on value and benefits, this style of selling has an excellent track record for producing results.
Dozens of corporate buyer surveys regularly indicate that price is not the number one or two factor in their purchase decisions. Other factors, such as vendor reputation, product quality and overall value usually ranked higher than price.
Yet buyers often convince salespeople that price is their primary buying criteria. Why? They obviously want all the benefits the salesperson can provide but at a lower price, further boosting the value they receive. Indeed, it’s really about maximizing value, and price is just one of the components of value.
In today’s competitive environment, buyers often have the upper hand, especially when a consultative selling approach has not been used. Many buyers are even taking sales training and negotiations courses to be able to outmaneuver salespeople who try to sell products and services at healthy margins. Below are just a few of the techniques we teach for selling value.
Avoiding the Price Trap
So, how can salespeople use consultative selling avoid the price trap and instead sell value?
- Assess how prior purchases were made. What were the most important criteria at that time?
- Gather information on expected financial results and perform a ROI analysis
- Understand the prospect’s buying criteria and ensure you meet that criteria better than your competition
- Understand how the prospect benefits personally by a successful implementation of your solution, and explain how you’ll ensure those benefits are realized
- Gain strategic commitments, such as the prospect providing financial or competing vendor data, that boost closing odds
Using Consultative Selling and Concessions Strategically
But, what happens if you do need to make some concessions or help your buyer save face?
- Practice consultative selling and perform a complete needs assessment prior to entering into a negotiation
- Make sure you’re dealing with the ultimate decision maker before agreeing to any concessions
- See if you can trade a reduced price for a higher volume commitment, more favorable terms or referrals
- Offer high-value, high-margin services instead of cash discounts. These services could include extended warranties or upgraded maintenance contracts
- In heavy negotiations, pre-plan your approach with negotiation tactics like the walk-away point or splitting the difference
- Make sure you don’t grant concessions too early — tie any concessions to a signed agreement
Those adept at consultative selling often out-earn their product-selling counterparts. Why? Because value-oriented salespeople are great at selling premium-priced, high-margin products and services. Typically, these high margins provide for fat commission checks and better job security.
Not only does value trump price in the minds of buyers, salespeople using consultative selling have more success and bigger paychecks than the more product oriented salespeople.