March 16/23, 2015; Volume 28/Number 19
By Jim Augustus Armstrong
(Second of two parts)
In this series, I answer questions that were asked during the two sales and marketing training sessions I presented for dealers at Surfaces in Las Vegas.
What should we say when someone asks the price of a product right at the beginning of the sales process?
You don’t want to get into a price discussion until after the prospect has seen your entire presentation, including testimonials, warranties, guarantees and your unique selling proposition, and has been thoroughly wowed by your service. This makes commanding margins of 45% to 50% or more much easier. Also keep in mind that when a consumer asks about price right away it doesn’t necessarily mean she is a price shopper. Your prospect doesn’t know anything about flooring, so she is asking the most obvious question: What’s the price? I’ve found that if you deflect the question most prospects will follow your lead. I suggest dealers reply with something similar to, “I’d be happy to give you a price on your project. Let me ask a few questions that will enable me to give you an exact, guaranteed quote so there are no surprises.” This is a very effective method to change the topic and allows you to discuss pricing after she’s seen all of her options.
Should we post prices on our products in the showroom?
There are very successful dealers who post their prices on products in the showroom. However, I’m against it for several reasons.
First, you’re inviting people to comparison shop on the worst criteria possible: price tags. They think they are comparing apples to apples, but they’re not. There are many other factors that don’t appear on a price tag such as your quality of workmanship, your expertise, your warranties, the quality of the product itself and more. Your sales process should thoroughly educate your prospects on these factors before price even enters the conversation.
Secondly, the price you post gives absolutely no meaningful information to the prospect because she has absolutely no idea how to calculate that square-footage price into an overall project cost.
Lastly, you’ve reduced your business to a number on a tag.
Should we reward people for sending us referrals?
I recommend it. It doesn’t have to be anything huge—it could be a pair of movie tickets or a Starbucks card along with a hand-written note. People refer you because they know, like and trust you. Not for a token reward, but I recommend it because it endears you to your customers, strengthens loyalty, differentiates your business, brightens their days and creates top-of- mind awareness. Besides, it’s a very polite and gracious thing to do—something missing in today’s world of customer service mediocrity.
Some of our staff members are resistant to change. How can we get our sales team to use new sales strategies?
First, be sure you’ve empowered your sales team for success by taking these five steps:
- Provide the tools they need to succeed. In this case, the new sales strategies you’ve learned.
- Train them on how to use the tools.
- Hold them accountable to use the tools.
- Recognize their successes.
- Reward their successes.
By doing this you’ll likely get a lot more buy-in from your sales staff. However, if a member of your team still refuses to get on board, then it’s a good sign he or she is not the right fit for your business.