Really great sales people know something about closing sales that other sales people haven’t come to the realization about yet.
Today I answer an email from a reader who has the best quality and highest prices, but can’t manage to win every deal. Here’s his email…
I work for a high-end construction materials distributor where we work closely with architects, project developers, contractors, private villa owners, and villa management firms.
Every now and then we come across a potential client that is engaged in the process of obtaining the materials for their project by taking in bids for the contracts.
The problem I am faced with is that we typically hold the rank of not only highest quality but correspondingly highest priced distributor in the region.
When engaged in a bid war where price takes precedence over quality, I have trouble getting my foot in the door to some potentially huge clients. Got any advice on this?
Some prospects are easy to close, some are hard, and some are impossible.
A common belief held by many in sales is that is that really great sales people can close anything.
This simply isn’t true.
Really great sales people know how to get maximum value out of their sales time.
Understand The Value That You Provide
Make sure that you understand the value that a customer can get from you.
Sometimes the value is in your quality of goods. Sometimes it is in the service and attention you give as a sales person and as a company. Sometimes it is in both of these.
Whatever your value, be sure you know specific reasons why your prices are higher than your competitors.
Know Who *Your* Customers Are
You must know who *your* customers are.
The easy sales come from the prospects who value what you sell and what kind of company you are.
The hard and impossible sales come from the prospects who do NOT value what you are selling and who you are.
Brian occasionally comes across a prospect that is asking for bids, and thumbs their nose at his higher prices. These are prospects who do not value what Brian is selling.
Through analysis of past sales to customers who have been successful with you, you can determine the traits of the prospects most likely to purchase from you.
I call this process Strategic Customer Profiling, and the process results in a tool that guides you on who sell to and who you NOT sell to.
One of the most important decisions you can make in a sales job is on where to draw the line on which prospects you won’t spend your valuable sales time with.
Change The Rules When Possible
Although I essentially just said, don’t sell to people who don’t value you what you are selling, there is an exception.
Some prospects don’t fully know what they want, what they need, and what they value.
If you can influence their purchasing criteria, then it is worth it to try and change how they make their purchasing decision.
In Brian’s case, it would make sense to try show how his higher quality materials could results in lower costs over time when maintenance and replacement costs are factored into a "total cost" scenario.
Often times quality products with a higher initial cost, can be shown to yield a lower total cost over time due to the costs of labor, breakdowns, etc.
The most obvious recommendation is for Brian to find prospects who value the reasons for his higher prices, and to stay away from the cost conscious driven prospects.
When you make this mindshift of not trying to close everyone, you will find that your sales closing ratio goes up significantly because you are selling to prospects more likely to make a purchase from you.