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Bargain hunter Featured

9:44am EDT July 22, 2002
Salespeople often buy into prospects’ complaints that the “price is too high.”

But the old rule of selling says, “When the price is too high, the interest is too low.” It means you haven’t done a good sales presentation (if any) to convince the prospect that what you sell is worth the investment.

Cutting price, however, isn’t the answer. In many cases, an unspoken or hidden objection prevents the prospect from buying, and if you don’t find it, you’ll never make the sale. When you cut price as a sales closing tool without trying anything else, it’s the mark of an untrained salesperson.

Here are some proven strategies to help you close at full price.

Ask questions

Good selling requires you to ask serious questions, such as, “What problem(s) are you try to solve?” “What have you looked at so far?” “When do you see yourself making a final decision?” “Who, besides yourself, is required to make a final decision?”

The answers will help you determine just how serious the prospect is about buying, and whether he or she is the right person to talk to about the sale.

Give a sales presentation

A planned presentation is simply an orderly way to explain your product or service point by point. Salespeople often assume prospects know the benefits, but even those who do rarely fully understand how they can take advantage of them.

Show testimonials

Every salesperson who closes sales should go back to their satisfied users and request a letter saying what they think of the product or service. I can’t overemphasize their value. Written testimony from a customer helps prove your point about the solutions that you can provide.

Ask for the order

You need not offer any price incentive to ask people to buy. Go for the sale at regular price. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

There are also several taboos in sales. Here are a few don’ts:

Don’t be quick to discount

You will shoot yourself in the foot if you start out a sales call with something like, “Our price is only $1,000, but I can knock off $200.” Always offer your regular price.

Many prospects are not as focused on price as you may be, and issues such as quality, guarantees, warranties and service should be stressed. More important, quote the regular price first. If someone wants lower prices, first counteroffer something such as free delivery, extended warranty or additional product or service instead.

If prospects feel it’s easy to get a discount, they may assume they can do better elsewhere, or, by beating up a little on the salesperson, get an even lower price. If you make it a little difficult to get a reduced price, then you can make the prospect feel they got a good deal.

Don’t cut price without using it as a sales close

Qualify prospects as serious. Ask them, “If I quote a lower price, are you ready to buy now?” If the answer is no, tell them your company won’t let you cut deals unless someone is ready to buy, and how soon do they see that happening?

The bottom line is that you should never cut any price without a buying condition. Get the prospect to buy now, within 24 hours, or by next week. Any price cut you extend must expire.

Never leave it open forever. Otherwise, it gives the impression you are overpriced to start with. Ted Tate is president and CEO of Tate & Associates. He presents in-house sales training programs. He is also the author of “Just Sell It,” John Wiley Publishing, NY, (800) CALL-WILEY. Tate can be reached at (440) 257-7520.