Does it Always Come Down to Price?

price-writing-tnHas this ever happened to you?

You call a prospect and introduce yourself, your company and your products.

But before you have a chance to ask qualifying questions, the prospect asks:

“What’s your price?”

Important: 

If this prospect is a price shopper, think about this:

Low prices don’t build customer loyalty.

There will ALWAYS be someone who can try and beat your price.

If you want loyal customers, compete on value and not on price.

Don’t Be Shy

If you offer superior service, good product knowledge and excellent products, it is critical to let prospects know this – in every possible way.

When you focus on these positives and anything unique that differentiates you from competitors, you will attract fewer price shoppers.

A Shocking Statistic

According to the findings of a 15-year study conducted by an Atlanta-based sales training organization:

More than 90 percent of all salespeople volunteer a price decrease without being asked!

“More than ever before, customers are choosing to buy from a company not just because it offers a product with a fair price, but also because that company has good values.”
Vanessa Merit Nornberg

3 Ways to avoid the price-quote trap.

 If they ask:  “Can I get a better price?”

One way to answer:

“Yes you can.  When you order two, the item is $59 each. The next price break is at six and instead of $59 each, the price is just $54 each when you order six.  Shall I send you six today?”

When you don’t offer free shipping

If a customer asks for free shipping and your company has a policy of charging for freight, a positive answer works best.  “We’d love to provide free shipping, but we’re simply absorbing our shipping cost and that allows us to give you the low price you’re getting.”

 

Here’s wishing you a happy and productive day!
- Ann

PS:  The next one-to-one sales training e-Course begins on Wednesday. If you have questions or would like to enroll, please send me a message. I’ll get back to you ASAP and –  Your BTA educational discount applies to this course!

 

Are Your Prospects Vanishing? Here’s Why

sunset-horizon-tnIf this has happened to you, you are not alone.

You sent a proposal to a prospect and then never heard from her again.

Or you sent a free sample of your product to a prospect to evaluate and afterwards you were unable to reach her on the telephone.

What Happened?

After the first call, you had what you felt was a productive conversation about your products or service.

Or, they call you, appearing to be interested in what you have to offer.  They ask for a proposal and since you have all the information you feel you need, you take the time to develop and send a proposal.

And then …

The Vanishing Act

You don’t hear from her.

You leave a message and you don’t get a return call.

You call and leave another message.  And another.  (Bad sign.)

After awhile it becomes obvious.

Your prospect has either been kidnapped, died, or somehow vanished from the face of the earth, leaving no trace behind.

Or it could be they are procrastinating. They have put off reading your proposal or trying your product.

Or their plans have changed.

Whatever the reason, you need to find out what the situation is, so you can either cross them off your list or continue to follow up.

What to Do – in Advance of a Vanishing Act

During the first conversation:

  • Get the names of additional contacts within the company.  Ask: “In addition to you, who else is involved in the decision-making process?”  Or: “Who else in your company should I talk to about this?”
  • Get at least one other name – preferably two or three names of people you can contact in the future in case your prospect is unreachable when you make your follow-up calls.
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    Another Reason Why They Disappear
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    You did not get an “action commitment” during the first contact. Before you send anything, whether it’s a proposal or brochure or a product to evaluate, ask for a commitment.
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    Action Commitments
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    1.  “I’ll make a note to follow up with you next week.  Or will two weeks be better for you?”Whatever the answer, reconfirm the date.  If they say three weeks is better, you can say: “Good!  Let’s make plans to talk in three weeks and I’ll call you on July 28th. Okay?”
    .
    End the call by repeating the date and time of your telephone appointment: “I have you on my calendar for a 9:30 a.m. telephone call on July 28th and unless I hear from you otherwise, I will phone you then.”
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    Include the date and time for your telephone appointment in the note you send with your proposal or brochure or sample of your product.
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    2.  “After you review the proposal, what is the next step in the process?”  Then use #1 above,  Or –
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    3.  “After you try our product and if it works well for you, when will you be placing your order with us?”  Then use #1 above.
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    Get the perfect follow-up voice mail messages in the valuable 33-page e-book Voice Mail Tips & Scripts !
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    Feedback from Readers of this e-book: “The Best ROI in 18 Years!”
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    “Ann, thank you for what I would consider the best ROI percentage that I have ever experienced in 18 years. I downloaded and read just three pages in your Voicemail Tips -jotted down a short message to leave at a customer I have called four times in the last two weeks with no reply and she called me back the next day!”
    .
    Steve Sheffield, President
    Southwest Office Systems
    Vancouver, WA
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    “What’s fun to hear is the feedback I get from sales reps on how the tips have worked – so they really see the benefits and continue to utilize the techniques for more than just one day.”
    .
    Melinda Bonfig,
    Savin Corporation.
    Minneapolis, MN

 

How One Smart Manager Inspired His Sales Team

seminar-attendees-tnIt is exciting to see a sales manager doing all the right things – with great results.

This is what happened:

I was invited to teach a two-day sales training seminar and the manager decided to sit with the reps during both days.

This does not always happen, so I wasn’t sure how comfortable the sales reps would feel, with their manager being in the conference room during every part of the training.

But …

it turned out to be very successful because while actively participating in the seminar, he offered constructive criticism during role play and never failed to praise positive performances.

He specifically pointed out what worked well, focusing on situations where effective techniques had been used by certain sales reps to win over hard-to-get prospects.

At this company there is an unusually low turnover rate among sales people.

Five Reasons why This Business Keeps Good Employees

  1. They include employees in goal-setting activities and regularly communicate the company’s sales goals and objectives.
  2. They motivate reps with sales contests and a good compensation plan.
  3. This company shows they care about the company’s and employee’s success  by providing sales training on a regular basis.
  4. The sales manager has earned the respect of the sales reps by being a team player with a supportive attitude.
  5. The owner of this company understands the importance of keeping his internal customers (employees) happy.This sales team achieved an amazing 30% increase in sales during the two months following the seminar. When I complimented the sales manager on his success, he gave the credit to his “talented and hard-working sales team.”
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    That’s a smart manager – and a successful business.

 

This Follow-up Call Earned a Sale

cell-phone-woman-tnImagine how many more sales you could get if more of your prospects would actually read and think about the information you send, or brochures you leave with them during your on-site cold calls.

After talking to more than a dozen customers and sending emails or brochures with product information, how can you make it worth your time and energy?

Easy and Fast

The easiest and fastest way to get a prospect mentally involved in – and reading – the information you send, is to get them physically involved. (Not arm wrestling or anything like that.)

Unique

One sales person I bought from – when I purchased office equipment supplies for the company I worked for – had a unique way of motivating me to read the price lists she sent to me.

Here is how one follow-up phone call from this sales rep (her name was “Fern”) went:

“Hello Ann, I’m calling to follow up on the new price catalog we sent you last week.

“It has a purple cover with bright yellow printing.”

Words That Prompted Action

She went on to say:

“There has been a change in pricing on one of the products you use.

“If you have a pen handy, turn to page 14 and next to item #3, cross out the printed price and write $34.50.

“That’s your new third column price on that product and we have it in stock. How many would you like to order?”

I ordered a dozen.

Five Reasons This was Successful

  1. Fern didn’t ask me if I received the catalog (which could have ended the conversation quickly.)
  2. She immediately described the colors on the catalog, so I was able to identify it and pull it out from among all the other catalogs on my desk.
  3. She got me physically involved in the conversation by asking me to cross out the price on a specific page and write in the new price.
  4. I was then mentally involved, looking at the new price I had written and thinking about whether or not we should order this product from Fern.
  5. She ASKED for the order!
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    I ordered a dozen.
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    You can see 10 effective ways to ask for the order in this 115-page sales-building e-book at less than half price through Midnight on Wednesday.
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    Here’s wishing you a happy and cool day (cooler than the 91 degree heat we have here today!)
    .
    - Ann

 

Would This Radical Form of Marketing Work for You?

out-of-the-ordinary-tnIt was a hot, humid day on August 23rd, 2011 when suddenly the empty rocking chair in my home office began rocking back and forth.

Eerie.

Was the ghost of my grandmother visiting?  Not likely.

I turned on the TV and saw that an earthquake had struck Washington, D.C. – and Virginia Beach, where I live.

So THAT was the reason the rocking chair rocked!

Earthquakes in D.C. and Virginia Beach are rare.  I don’t remember one – ever.

We have occasional hurricanes here but not earthquakes.

What does this have to do with marketing?

Well . . .

. . . not being a frequent TV watcher, I began – after the earthquake – keeping the TV on  – on mute…just in case.

Every now and then I looked up at the TV to see if anything unusual was happening.

That was when I became aware of the quirky Duluth Trading television advertising . . .

. . . focusing on the negative stuff you can avoid if you buy their products.

At first, I smiled because of the unusual wording and graphics.

But, then I had to turn the volume up because…

did that Duluth commercial say what I thought it said?

“Crouch without the ouch.”

And

“How to fix plumber’s butt.”    What?

“Buck-naked underwear” with a “no-bull guarantee.”

The commercial that sold me was “The no-yank tank” because it is two inches longer than most women’s tanks.

You don’t have to yank it down when you’re crouching or bending over.

I bought one and liked it so much I bought two more when they were on sale.

It helps that Duluth sells high quality products that live up to its advertising.

Results

Duluth Trading has nearly doubled its sales in just two years, thanks to its quirky ads, including an animated “buck-naked” underwear guy.

I love this quote from Dan Neil of the Los Angeles Times:

“Duluth Trading practices a radical form of marketing known as honesty.” 

Could radical, quirky advertising work for your business?

Would “no-jam copiers” get attention?  I don’t know, but Duluth ads get the attention of millions and have dramatically increased sales.

A Creative Quirky Ad

The only slightly quirky ad I have seen is this creative flyer from a handy man.

A Lovable Ad 

This is one of my favorite ads ever, even though it is slightly misleading.  To really appreciate this ad, read all the way to the end.

Want to Brighten Someone’s Day?

There is an example of an award-winning funny and attention-getting voice mail message in this e-book.