What is your selling approach and competitive uniqueness?
Is your selling strategy to win the business based on having the lowest prices or are you selling on your greater value and lower total cost?
Less skilled sales people tend to gravitate to selling on price. They lack the skills of probing to understand better, their prospects real needs. They tend to sell products that are cheaper in their construction, have fewer performance functions, come with less support, and are less durable.
One of the key ways these “selling cheap” sales people increase their competitive advantage and selling success is by accelerating or shortening their customer’s evaluation and buying process. After all, if I have a cheaper, less supported and lower functioning product compared to my competitors, then I can increase my odds of winning by accelerating how you, the buyer, make your buying decision.
In addition, the faster and sooner I can get you to make a buying decision then the less likely you will be as a buyer to uncover my product’s competitive gaps or functional exposures that exist in my cheaper product offering.
This is one of the reasons companies selling on low price tend to go in early in the selling process offering special prices only available for a short period of time. If they can make their special discounts or pricing look attractive enough, they might get a buyer to accelerate their buying decision and miss what they are really giving, compared to buying from a stronger competitor.
The key to selling higher priced products or services against low price competitors.
The key to selling higher priced products or services against low price competitors is to increase your customer’s competitive evaluation and decision process. It makes sense doesn’t it? You can increase your competitive advantage selling higher priced, greater value and lower risk products when you can get your customer or prospect to conduct a complete and extensive evaluation of all their competitive alternatives. The greater your value and uniqueness then the more likely you are to win when your customer or prospect gains a complete and detailed understanding of everything they are going to get from all of the vendors going after their business. A more complete competitive evaluation will also prevent your buyer from being surprised by selecting a cheaper product they later discover was under-configured and ignoring what they really wanted and needed.
Presenting your customers with the “low risk customer buying” process.
One of the best ways to persuade your buyer to complete a more through competitive evaluation is by showing them a more customer focused process or structure that can help them through their evaluation. The goal is to help your customer understand how to evaluate all of the aspects, both product functionality and performance, as well as the service and support capabilities of all proposals, both yours and your competitors.
Proposing your suggested buying process has to be handled properly. You will position yourself and your company as more professional, ethical and customer focused if you are able to offer your customer buying suggestions that come across as more balanced and fair than anything being suggested by your competitors.
The first step in any selling process is to lower your customer’s resistance and to increase their trust in your offers of help. The more you lower their resistance and increase their trust in you and your company then the more likely they will be to consider and follow your advice. You can best accomplish this resistance lowering trust building process by conducting more research, asking more questions and spending more time understanding their total business than what your competitors are attempting to do.
Fairly early in your selling process, but after you feel you’ve stabilized your relationship and built up their trust, you want to start asking how they plan to evaluate all of their competitive choices. The less structured or complete their evaluation plans then the more you are going to be competitively exposed as the higher priced, but greater value vendor.
You will come across as more customer focused and professional if you help your buyers evaluate and protect their best interests. The goal here is to have them see how concerned you are for them making the best decision for their business, and your confidence that the more complete their evaluation, then the more likely and confident you are that you’ll win their business.
The best way to position your suggested customer buying process is by positioning the questions you have found have been of most value to your other customers in the past. You will be most effective if you present these buying suggestions as something you encourage your buyers to ask of all vendors going after their business, including you.
You want to present these suggested questions verbally to your buyer but also have a letter prepared to hand them at the conclusion of your suggestions. You want to present your suggested low risk customer buying process as a business letter instead of as a printed brochure. A letter on your company stationary and addressed to them looks more intimate and special to each customer where a brochure looks like it’s been printed and is being presented to all customers.
It’s also a good idea to carry unaddressed copies of this letter with you at all times just in case you have the opportunity to share this information with a new prospect or contact. Even though the letter is not addressed directly to them, it can still impress them with your personal focus to their buying issues and challenges.
Suggested low risk customer buying process letter.
This letter and suggested buying process will work equally well selling intangible services, equipment, or consumable supplies. Though these same four suggested buying questions will work for any product or service selling environment, you’ll want to customize the detailed evaluation questions contained under each of these four questions to better focus on your proposed business application. A suggested letter format for selling your equipment to your customer can read like this…
Dear < < Customer’s name >>
Thank you for your interest in < < Your company name and product brands being proposed. >> Our past customers have shared the following four questions as a way to help you lower your risk and ultimately achieve the lowest total cost equipment selection if you ask all vendors (including us) being considered to quantify and prove to you:
1) “What’s my total cost?”
- Are all the required accessories and tools included in your quoted price?
2) “How will you support me?”
- How will you prove your “24/7” support?
- Equipment performance record
- Service technicians and support availability
- Parts inventory/availability
3) “How much risk am I taking doing business with you?”
4) “How will you help me improve my business?”
We look forward to working with you to fully explain and outline exactly how we can successfully answer these and all of your other questions.
As a higher priced, but lower total cost vendor you will increase your chances of winning when your customer conducts a through and complete evaluation of all competitive alternatives being considered.
Presenting this letter and these suggested buying questions, and being able to provide strong answers to each of these questions is one of the best ways to prove you are the lower risk, lower total cost and most effective solution for your customers, even when you have a higher price.
We know you’re good…now the question is….are you ready to get even better…and customer focused to offer these four questions to help communicate and prove your added value and lower risk so you can increase your competitive advantage and selling success?