Lead With People Not With Price

leejohndrowteamI mentioned yesterday that there were more important things that just price when it comes to sales. I received a few challenges. “Are you kidding?” No, I am not.I have been in sales since I was “knee high to a grasshopper”. On some level or another. I have sold houses, cars, companies and widgets. There are perhaps few things I have not sold. I have sold face to face, email, telephone, seminar and snail mail.

At some point you need to review some things. Are you still seeing the same clients you were a year ago, five years ago and more? (How far back do your friends go?) Do your clients tell others about you? Do they value your insight? Are you trusted by them? Do they feel you are giving them 110% or out for a dollar? I could speak for hours on any one of those topics.

(By the way I do realize that people are going to call and want a widget and only care about price. I humbly submit to you that is the exception and not the rule.)

My long time in sales and on earth has lead me to the following thoughts.

Even when a customer can not “tell” you what they want, if they get the wrong thing or the wrong service, price is no longer the issue. Walt Disney said, “Do what you do so well that people want to bring their friends to see you do it again.” It is often hard to accept that how we provide or deliver something is more important than the “what” we deliver In sales a lot of attention is given to price and purpose. To benefits and results. Those are important but let me open the doors to some bigger thoughts.

RESPECT? I am pretty certain at the top of the list is the personal touch. Treating them like a fellow human being and not a number. People want to feel like their time and their thoughts matter. They want to be treated fairly and with respect. One of the best opportunities you get to shine in this area is when things do not go right. (I had a large product order back order. I called well in advance and let the client know. I gave them the opportunity to shop elsewhere knowing it was time critical. My proactive, upfront action caused them to not go somewhere else and place additional orders.)Your “fix it” mentality coupled with letting them know you care will go a long ways towards a strengthened relationship and future sales. But, mishandled, you may not get the second shot.

PROCESS? The order is only the beginning. You may have walked your way through objections, questions, price and product, but that is the easy part in most cases. The process does not live and die with the sale. Once the order is placed, communications, updates and additional questions are on the horizon. And at the end of it will they feel it is “worth it”? Do they feel they got the answers to their questions? Was the timing right? The process of buying does not truly end until the item or service is in their hand. (And even then it is not over!) Because often they need follow up and additional questions. Will they feel like you heard them?

MINE FIELDS? Every where you go these days you will find customer surveys. The underlying concern or cause is they want to know, did you “enjoy the ride” or were you aggravated? There are some aggravations most people can “accept”. They may include back orders or delays or defective parts or service. You may walk through that minefield for a bit. But sooner or later there is the inevitable “explosion”. It is far better to have come prepared for the unexpected and avoid the minefield completely. People do not buy if they feel aggravated. The wrong product, information or expectation can cause a minefield. Learn to anticipate the expectation or concern by building relationship and you may not have to listen for the bang!

SUCKERED? “They could sell ice to an Eskimo.” That implies that someone got suckered and someone suckered them. The world of sales has its share of shysters. (Over 23% of the working population is in sales of some type.) Selling isn’t a mind game but a service provided to meet a need. The slightest tinge of manipulation will cause bad things to happen. And if a customer has been manipulated they will likely never return for a second shot at them. If a customer feels “buyer’s remorse” you may need to evaluate your process. Serve not sucker.

APPEARANCE? How well you are prepared is important to your client or customer. Did you live up to the promises you made? Is your reputation enhanced? When things work together it is amazing. But, if the customer is faced with wrong parts, errors in service, they will be scared away for future opportunities. All those things lead to a run on trust. Get your act together!

BOTTOM LINE? People want to be treated like people. They want respect, honesty, integrity and communication. Work on those and price may not really be discussed. (Not saying it is not important, just saying the answer is provided long before the price.)

Lead with people. Not price. You will find the doors open and remain open.

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