Stop Competing on Price

The most common complaint I hear when talking to owners of small to medium sized businesses is that, “we can’t compete with the big guys on price.”

The perception in the market place is that people are shopping on price alone. The only reason your customer asks the price up front is because that is what we as business owners have trained them to do.

How many times have you rung or gone into a business not really knowing what model, style, colour or features you were looking for and purely asked for the price? At this point did the sales person come back with “that is £29.95” or did they ask you some questions about what you were looking to use the product/service for? In this instance let’s say it is a kettle.

Now in most people’s eyes a kettle is a kettle; but, they have many different features and offer many different benefits. So what if the sales person simply said to you when you inquired about price, “just so I can help you best is it okay if I ask you a couple of questions about the kettle you are looking for?” Would you have answered yes? My bet is that the answer would have most definitely been yes!

The sales person could then ask questions like; are you looking to replace an existing kettle or is it a gift for someone? Do you regularly use your kettle or is it rarely used? Would you like a kettle with a quick boiling time? Have you seen the cordless options that are available? Are you looking for something to match your kitchen? So what colour are you looking for? Is it important that it has an automatic cut off when the kettle is boiled? Are you after a stove-top option, or an electric kettle? Kettles come in different cup capacity; do you require 10 cup capacity or is 5 a better size for you?

From these questions the customer gets the idea that the sales person is genuinely interested in their needs and the salesperson is able to offer options in the most suitable kettles for their needs. The price is therefore negated. It is just a matter of now asking the customer to buy.

Ask More Questions

A good salesperson would then ask, “well based on what we have just spoken about there are two options to choose from, model x and model y, which one suits you best? Great, I can either put that away for now or I can process it on credit card for you and have it delivered to you tomorrow – which do you prefer?”

If the option is credit card ask “which credit card is it easiest to process that on?” and make sure the prospect is aware there will be a delivery charge of x amount. If the option they choose is to have it put away, this gives the sales person the opportunity to get the customers name and contact details. If the customer chooses this option make sure the sales person gets a time frame for them to pick the item up. Be definite with the infinite. If the customer is in your business the sales person then simply takes them to the point of sale terminal and transacts the sale.

This example was based on a kettle, a relatively small dollar item. How does this apply to your business? This process works equally well on cars, houses, furniture, service based businesses and any other product I can think of, including funeral homes. You just need to work out what your customers are actually looking for when they ask for the price, and what’s most important to them in their buying decision!