Sales is about serving your clients. Getting out of your own limiting beliefs around value and assumptions about what someone else would spend.
Many years ago I learned a sales lesson I’ll never forget.
Never make assumptions about what your prospects really value and how much they’re willing to spend.
I was role playing a selling situation with Damien who wanted to buy a home theatre system. I asked Damien what his budget was. “$3,000”. I went through all the normal questions to establish what he wanted from it and showed him a range of equipment from $2,000 to $3,000.
But then someone piped up and asked why I hadn’t shown him something top of the line in the $10,000 range. My response? “He said he only had $3,000 to spend.”
Damien then said something I’ll never forget.
“I didn’t really know what was available. I really want a top of the line system – given what the $10,000 one would do, I would have happily found the money and bought it.”
A head slapping moment. By making assumptions, we’d had a lose-lose. I’d done myself out of $7,000. And Damien ended up with an inferior product.
I told this story to a client, Greg, a few years ago. He then went on to recount how he’d recently purchased a new TV. A story which beautifully illustrated how to not make assumptions and make large sales.
Greg walked into his local large retailer and was met by a salesperson who asked what sort of TV’s he was interested in.
Greg told him he watched a lot of movies and wanted something that was good technology that would last for a few years. (He told me he wanted to keep it about 10 years or so).
So the salesperson showed him a bunch of plasma and LCD TVs on the shop floor. None of them took his fancy. They just didn’t do it for him.
Frustrated he said “Don’t you have anything better? What’s the top of the line TV you’ve got?”
That’s when the salesman twigged. He took Greg into a “hidden” lounge where you could sit in comfort and experience top of the line TVs.
This was more like it!
The top of the line 3D TV had a picture quality twice as good as the cheaper versions, even when just displaying a “normal” picture. The build quality was excellent – and the price reflected it.
So Greg became the proud owner of a new $11,000 TV – and yes, he’s very happy with the purchase. No buyer’s remorse here!
This next example illustrates why you should never second guess someone’s motives or what they’ll pay for.
A favourite horse had a major eye problem. The owner called her vet, someone she’d been using for over 20 years. He examined the animal and recommended removing the eye, which he duly did.
Once the horse had recovered, he told the owner, “You know, we could have saved the eye, but it would have been $18,000 in chemo and other medication and I didn’t think you’d want to spend the money.”
The owner was absolutely furious. How dare he make that decision for her. She would have happily spent the money to save the eye.
She not only dumped the vet, but bad mouthed him around town for making judgements as to what was important on her behalf.
It’s not up to us to judge or decide what someone will pay for something. People spend fortunes on anything they truly want and value.
Which brings me to an major concept called the “slack adjuster”.
A slack adjuster is a product or service which is significantly higher than your average sale. It might be 3X, 4X or even 10X what most of your clients buy.
But every so often someone like Greg or Damien will buy it. But only if you offer it. So there’s a lesson in itself.
Have you ever found yourself at either ends of these situations? Either as a client or service provider?
If you’re a consultant or business owner who needs to generate business, sales training is one of the best investments you can make – both for yourself and your team. It’s a small investment compared to how much money you risk losing out on.
Remember, sales is about serving your clients. Sticking with your own beliefs around value and assumptions about what someone else would spend will limit your sales results and bottom line profit.
Our training and coaching covers both technique and the all important attitude every salesperson must have to be successful.
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