A company recently made a presentation at our NY office. They were brought in by leadership to help hundreds of our employees excel in something specific. It was well received. A telltale sign is usually the swarm of folks who approach the presenter with additional questions and desired clarifications.
Two months later, I got contacted by this company. They wanted to have a quick chat. It’s always possible that they wanted to follow up regarding their presentation and perhaps take a further step together. In sales, don’t assume. Hear everyone out. As someone in sales, I’ll always make the time for a conversation. Don’t take it as something personal when I do.
It was during the first thirty seconds of this call that I learned a lesson I’m still working on applying today. They immediately acknowledged their visit to our company. “It was one of our favorite presentations thus far”, the CEO explained to my curious ears. “But” he continued, “I must have been approached by twenty sales reps trying to get our business. Frankly, I was turned off. As for you, we’ve been interacting for the past six months together on Linkedin and not once was our correspondence a transactional one. While I trust your company, I’ve lost a bit of respect for the way I’ve been approached by your associates. They did get me thinking about my processing rates being too high, though. After our past interactions and getting to know you in a low-level way, I feel comfortable with you. Why don’t you see what you can do to lower my cost, and you’ll have my business?”
I was floored. I couldn’t help but wonder how these sales reps, most of whom were more advanced than I, had struck out. Don’t they know how to make a sale? There are many ways, but how is each of them struck out? I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
Through our conversation together, I may have figured it out. Part of this phone call was of course talking cost. Instead of presenting a new cost on the spot when asked, I explained that I needed a bit more data from him prior to being confident in presenting a new price. My prospect was confused. “Just give me a price,” he said. “Your associates gave me a new price on the spot.” I instantly recognized that I had a bit of education to teach about my product. A broader understanding of my service was necessary before moving forward together.
It now became clear. My associates were too busy selling the end product. They were selling on price without recognizing that this prospect inherently valued more than just end result. He would have been equally impressed with a bit of product education in addition. In most cases, there’s space to undercut the other.
I’m here today to suggest that your clients won’t decide based on price. Yes, it’s a factor. Reading between the lines and understanding the needs of a future client is often the difference in making the sale. The key, in this case, was helping expand my prospects knowledge.
I’d like to prove this further. I came back a few days later with a price. Surprise. The savings were lower than what was offered by my associates. I don’t overpromise if I can’t guarantee it. Fast forward. They are a new client of mine.
The lesson here is a simple one. In sales, you don’t have to be the best. You don’t need to be the most aggressive. You don’t even need to offer the lowest price. Instead, find a way to make yourself known in your industry while being a pleasure to deal with and trustworthy. They will push their way into you.