In the pressures of today's business climate, sellers are constantly asked to submit their best prices in order to be considered for purchase. While buyers and purchasing agents have become quite adept at making these demands, much needs to be considered before deciding to play along; and, even then you need to be careful your pricing doesn't undercut your purpose.
If your plan is to sell high volume, it's likely that you're better positioned to provide competitive pricing. Even so, you need to be specific as to your absolute bottom line price.
Likewise, those with inventory that spoils and can't be replaced can compete, as they're able to predict future spoilage and could elect to pre-sell that inventory at deep discounts. If this strategy is sound, pressure will be placed on the remaining inventory allowing you to maintain your desired price levels there.
When you have several competitors providing essentially the same product, demands for lower pricing are greater. If you don't believe in and are unable to prove your product's superior value and worth, the buyer won't pay a premium price. You are now commoditized.
Lowering your price in the hopes of unseating the incumbent creates the risk of hurting your entire industry. How? If the client has no intention of ever switching (they're best friends with their current supplier, etc), all you'll do is give them a reason to shop your low price. The incumbent is pressured to lower their rates to match yours, concessions are made (lower rates, freebies) to keep the business, and then values fall across the board.
Lastly your loss of leverage must be considered. Far too often I work with sellers who struggle with this rule of business. Every time you give something, you must get something in return. If you must negotiate rate, know what you will ask for in return, i.e., a signature on a long-term contract, etc. You must also know the pricing threshold you will not cross and be willing to walk away if they ask you to cross it. This requires belief in your product's value and courage to demand it.
Now more than ever it is critical to have a sales and pricing strategy in place to ensure that your business is presented properly and protected. It would be our privilege to help you craft that plan.
In the world of sales there are differing opinions about the answer to this question. Some feel that when a prospect/client asks you a question, you should always answer them. Others say that a question should always be answered with another question. Still others claim that whenever a client mentions a problem, you should ask at least three questions to get to the root of that problem.
So, what's the answer? Well, a combination of all the above, depending on the circumstance, and, most importantly, the client or prospect's mood. We need to be aware and mindful of the cues we receive to let us know what kind of day our clients are having. Cues like tone of voice, body language, even words they are using.
When the client is in an upbeat, or almost playful mood you can answer a question with another question. If a client asks "So, what are you trying to sell me today?" you can chuckle and answer "What are you buying today?"
Conversely, an upset client will not tolerate unanswered questions. In that situation, answer their question, then follow up with a statement acknowledging their feelings and ask another question. This might sound like "You're correct, we made a mistake, your complete order will not be delivered Friday as we thought, but next Monday instead. I understand that puts you in a tough spot. I'd be upset as well. What might we do to make this right for you?"
This approach allows you to accept responsibility (you should), makes the client realize that you understand and empathize with their predicament (strengthens your credibility because you're focused on their needs) and puts them back in control of the conversation (this is always your goal - for the client to be engaged and in the driver's seat).
Notice that there was no mention as to why the mistake took place, which department/individual was responsible, etc. Since that information is really of no importance to the client don't bother sharing it. You'll only sound like you're making excuses or blaming someone else, both of which make you look ridiculous and lead to distrust.
The art of knowing when to ask and when to answer is one that is perfected over time, with trial and error and numerous attempts. Remember one important rule-of-thumb. Just as with your significant other, don't make your clients ask the same question repeatedly without giving an answer - it's best to give an answer the second time the same question is asked.
I once knew a sales manager in radio whose mantra was 'everyone listens to our station, therefore every business is a prospect'. The format was programmed to appeal to teens and he'd claim things like 'well, that's true, but their parents are driving them around and listening too and if you don't advertise with us, you'll miss those adults'. Needless to say it didn't take long for him to gain a reputation for trying to sell anything to anyone. No one questioned his passion, but neither did they believe his grandiose claims.
Let's take a look at passion from another perspective. What happens when sellers say they don't believe in something, or they believe one brand is superior to another?
First, if they're struggling from a moral standpoint and have ethical reservations, they need to quickly get out of that business or switch to another division. Nothing is ever worth compromising your personal values and integrity.
If what they really mean is that they don't believe in the value of the product, you have only one choice as I see it. Demonstrate the value and pricing structure. If you're unable to do this, that seller will struggle and likely make pricing concessions to close a sale.
If they don't personally like or find the product appealing, make it clear to them that you don't expect them to buy the product, you expect them to sell it. Big difference. It isn't about them and how they feel about the product, it's about whether the customer will benefit. Period. Never assume that the customer shares your preferences.
If, however, sellers are concerned about the level of support from other departments or they've been burned by fulfillment issues, etc, they will be hesitant to continue to sell with a sense of urgency. Should this be happening, get the help you need to uncover the cause(s) and make the necessary adjustments.
Although being passionate is good, selling will never be about sharing your passion for your product. In the end sales will always be about discovering a need and providing a solution.