Are bottom lines the most important thing in a buyer-seller relationship?
SURELY not. Organisations and enablement teams put a huge amount of time, effort and resources into training salespeople to understand pricing structures, to know when and when not to give a little in order to move the sale on, and to differentiate rather than directly compete with other vendors. Salespeople are taught how to steer conversations away from purely transactional relationships, how to sweeten deals without offering up discounts that undermine both your product and your value offering.
They really try. Really. But decades of useless salespeople and lazy sales leaders have taught buyers to focus on price. Savvy ones know that there might be 10% that they can comfortably get knocked off your initial quote if they push hard enough. Very savvy ones might play for 15%, depending on how desperate your people seem for that signature. They use quotes from competitors to beat the price down – never mind that the competitor hasn’t got the weight or the reach that you have, never mind that their mouth-breathing salespeople aren’t offering any real value.
So, despite all your organisation’s efforts, the conversation ends up being about price again.
Because salespeople often aren’t truly enabled when it comes to pricing conversations. The ball is in the buyer’s court – and the quote can only ever go down from where it started, right?
Sure… if you’re a company that is only looking for transactional relationships with clients, offloading product and clearingout of there, like Del Boy in a decent suit and a handmade pair of shoes.
A lot of sales leaders still steer clear of the vital conversation that automatically elevates and differentiates your offering – the conversation about results and under investing.
When you work with the client, a pre-decided set of outputs are the primary metrics for how well or badly your people’s product or service is working. Call it output, call it ROI, call it whatever you like – results are what matters.
And results cost money.
No matter which way the prospect cuts it, they have a set of results that they need to achieve. Getting those results will cost an amount of money – so if they won’t spend that money, they won’t get those results.
So that’s the conversation that salespeople need to be primed for. They need the tools and the training to have an open, transparent conversation about input and output, with the client’s required results – rather than their desired outlay – as the primary driver. Otherwise you’re just another transactional bottom feeder, letting your people sell your organisation short for the sake of a signature, and losing customers long term because you were never going to be able to deliver the results your salespeople promised.
… Or is green-lighting your people to say “We just can’t deliver X without £XXX,000 more investment – and anyone who says they can is lying to you” a freedom too far?
You tell me.
– Tom @WSL