Wondering when to give a sales lead a price? Don’t get forced into making a sales pitch too soon. It could really backfire on you! Here’s a better way.
You Just Received a Hot Sales Lead…
A prospect visits your website and fills in your 'contact us' form. They have just let you know they are interested in your products or services. You know this is a hot lead so you call them up immediately. You want to do this before they change their mind. Or worse. They find one of your competitors who was faster to reply.
The first thing the prospect says is, 'I was looking for a price on…..'. Or maybe it’s, 'I'm interested in your _______ can you tell me about it?'
Don't Get Forced Into Making A Sales Pitch – It Can Backfire On You
This is great. You have a hot lead that wants more information. Unfortunately, most salespeople give the prospect exactly what they asked for. A price or more details. The prospect proceeds to ask you a few questions about your services, thanks you and hangs up. You are now left in limbo. What's next? You gave them the information they requested and they haven't given you any commitment.
This scenario repeats itself a thousand times a day in companies all around the world. You need to stop, take a breath and avoid at all costs going down that rabbit hole. Remember the saying, 'the person who asks the questions controls the sale.' At this moment they have complete control over you. More importantly, that is not going to help them because they may be short-sighted on what is required to find the right product or service.
Take Control of Your Sales Conversations
To be a top sales professional you need to take control of the conversation immediately. To do that you need to respond with the following statement;
'(name) I'd be happy to help you out. We provide custom solutions for our clients and I want to be sure that we can provide the same level of service that we give to our current customers. I'd like to ask you a few questions first to make sure there is a fit'
Its simple, direct and you have now regained control of the conversation. Now you can start your needs analysis. It's only by uncovering their needs and wants that you can begin to build value in what you have to offer. If they don't see a value, then they only see price and that's a game you don't want to play. Customers looking for the lowest price don't have any loyalty to their suppliers. They will be switching to a new vendor as soon as they need to place their next order. Let your competitors fight the price battle with each other while you focus on building value and working with customers who appreciate what you can offer.
When to Give a Sales Lead a Price? – After Your Needs Analysis
You should also never discuss price in sales call without establishing your value first. The best way to do this is to complete a needs analysis with your sales lead.
The goal of the needs analysis is to go beyond simply uncovering their problems. You need to create a detailed fact find that you utilize with every prospect. Once you do so, you will quickly realize that your fact find is the most important step in your sales process.
It will help you focus on digging deep into how the problems are impacting their business and why it is necessary to work with you to solve them. It also provides the background for your proposal. The more you focus on their pain and their goals the better the chance of closing the sale.
The Content of your Needs Analysis (Fact Find) should address the following points:
- Their problems (stated and unknown)
- Impact these problems have on their business (costs, time, labor, competitive, stress, opportunities)
- What outcomes do they desire?
- Timelines – Urgency
- Authority – can they make a decision?
Sample Fact Find Questions to Win More Sales Faster
What is Your Closing Ratio?
I was reviewing a client's sales forecasting strategy and was surprised to see how many proposals each salesperson was writing. Unfortunately, their closing rate was very low. In many cases under 15% of the prospects converted to customers.
The salespeople had all the usually answers. Customers are taking more time to make decisions. Customers are not buying. The customer said the price was too high. I'm sure you can insert a half a dozen more reasons here.
So we investigated the problem on an account-by-account basis. The problem was simple. The customer was not interested in finding a new vendor and they were not seriously looking to make a change. In most cases, the sales rep had jumped the gun and was asking to give the prospect a demo/quote/proposal when really didn't see any point. In other cases the customer was asking for a quote as a method of 'blowing off' the salesperson. They were pretty much saying; 'send me a proposal that I have no interest in reviewing but at least it will get you out of my office.'
How to Win More Proposals
Ask yourself; “is this a well-qualified prospect that deserves a proposal?'
Before you agree to write a proposal or prepare a quote you need to fully understand why the prospect wants one. More importantly, the prospect needs to understand how things will change for the better if they buy your product or service. The key to winning more business is by asking the right discovery questions and getting the customer to understand how your solution will positively impact their business.
How do you know if they truly want your product or service? Ask them to give you an overview of how they see things changing for the better if they select you as a new vendor. If they can't give you an answer, then they have already decided you are not the right business partner and there will be no need for a proposal. You'll just be wasting your time.
When to Give A Sales Lead a Price -The Technique At Work
A client received a call from a prospect asking for a price on a specialized piece of machinery for their manufacturing process. The salesperson answered the phone and the caller said he wanted a price on a small CNC cutting machine. The salesperson said they would be happy to provide a price but needed to get some more details to make sure that they could provide a price on the right system for the buyer.
The buyer repeated he was just looking for a quick price and didn't have time to answer a lot of questions. The rep stood firm on the request and assured the buyer that he had worked with the major players in the industry. He would only need a couple of minutes to talk about what options were required. Then he could give him a price.
The buyer relented and agreed to answer a few questions. The sales rep quickly determined the type of machine the prospect was looking for was very limited. It could not do many of the jobs that were required by the buyer's customers. In fact, he had been turning away a large amount of premium work because his current equipment could not do it. As the sales rep continued to question the buyer it turned out that his company had been losing business to their competitors due to the limitations of the current equipment. When the sale rep got the buyer to put a price tag on the lost work it was in the tens of thousands of dollars each month.
The Needs Analysis Yielded a Bigger Sale
Once the buyer realized that he was only going to be replacing an old technology CNC machine with a new machine that was just as limited he quickly decided he should be upgrading to a better machine that would not only allow him to do the work he was turning away but also offer even more flexibility to his customers.
The result. Instead of the buyer spending $12,000 on the machine he originally planned to buy he spent over $45,000 on the bigger and better system that would help him rebuild his business, charge higher fees and offer unique functions that he had not considered in the past.
All because he worked with a sales professional who knew when to give a sales lead a price. A sales professional who understood the power of moving beyond price and uncovering the unstated needs of the buyer. By the way, just think about the difference in the commission cheque on a sale that was over $32,000 higher than expected.
The Bottom Line on When to Give a Sales Lead the Price
I am not sure who said it, but there is an old saying in sales: 'If you ask the right questions and let your customers talk, they will tell you everything you need to know to win the sale.' Or, as my business partner Susan A. Enns always says, “The better the fact find, the happier the customer, the bigger the pay cheque.”
Want detailed information about how to conduct a better fact find to improve your sales results? Then download me free eBook, How to Validate Your Buyers and Close More Sales Faster from the free B2B Sales Connections Download Centre. It will help you reduce your buying cycle so you can close more sales faster.
“When you lead a struggling sales division from the brink of closing to over $7.4 million dollars in annual sales you can be confident, Robert knows how to engage customers and build sales.”
Are you looking for a speaker at your next sales conference? Robert J. Weese is a former broadcaster, award-winning professional speaker, author, and sales coach. He has lead high-performance sales teams to record growth.