3 min read

Getting your price

Some hard figures on salespeople, and tips on relationship selling

Getting your price is more than simple economics.

There are some salespeople and managers that believe that supply and demand are the only things that affect pricing. If there is more supply than demand, your prices must be low; if there is more demand than supply, your price can be higher.

There is some truth to this, but it is not an absolute truth. If it were, we would have economists on the street selling goods and services instead of salespeople. If supply and demand were the only dynamics governing sales, we would not need salespeople, simply pricing sheets with today’s prices that reflect market conditions. All transactions could then be handled electronically.

Getting your price is more than supply and demand. How about the relationship with your customer? Is it worth nothing? How about product support? Is it worth nothing? How about your company’s commitment to the industry and its customers? Are these worth nothing? Does your sales ability mean nothing in a supply-and-demand world? Is customer loyalty a thing of the past?

For those that buy this supply-and-demand argument as the sole determinant of price, I encourage you to examine those scenarios when there was abundant supply and you didn’t have to meet a cheaper price. There was something about your package that the customer liked and was willing to pay for.

For you to argue that it’s all about availability and demand diminishes the value that you and your company bring to the table. I will always argue for the value of a good salesperson and a committed supplier.

Consider these facts:

–About 56 per cent of salespeople say they are not being coached the right way;

–another 57 per cent of salespeople say they want more coaching from their sales managers;

–only 32 per cent of sales managers are considered to be outstanding coaches by their salespeople;

–a survey of 278 business executives found that the number one characteristic of effective sales managers is coaching skills;

–yet 60 per cent of salespeople say they want better coaching from their sales managers.

This is why relationship selling is so important.

Much is written today about customer relationship management, CRM for short. Software providers brag that their software brings high-tech to high-touch. But there’s more to your relationship with customers than software can provide. As humans, we are hard-wired for personal contact. We crave the presence of others — face time in sales parlance.

Relationship selling is about personal contact with customers. It is less about technique and more about trust. We recently surveyed 100 top salespeople and asked them how much of their sales success they attribute to their relationships with their customers. They responded with an astounding 79 per cent!

When asked how they build this relationship, they responded: “I make it personal.” It goes beyond business. They develop warm, personal relationships with customers based on common interests and goals. They build trust by following up on their promises. They communicate openly and fully with customers. They respond to customers’ needs. They are empathic to the customer’s situation. They help customers succeed.

These salespeople partner with customers. Their common bond serves their common good. One customer told us that his salesperson was more like an employee for the customer’s company because of the value he creates. Another customer said that his salesperson knows that “when we have a problem, he has a problem.” Problem ownership and customer intimacy are two ways salespeople create value for their customers.

Building this personal and professional relationship with customers on a foundation of trust is a prerequisite for sales success. If two people trust each other and feel a loyalty to each other and want to seal their business future because of this friendship, they will work out the details.

Tom Reilly is the author of Crush Price Objections, published by Motivation Press. For information on his next online public seminar go to www.tomreillytraining.com.