Price is NOT the Decider YOU think it is…

john c ashworth luxury hearse

Price is NOT the Decider YOU think it is
written by john c ashworth

Most small business owners will have an immediate reaction in disagreement with this idea.  Mostly as a result of their direct experience trying to sell to the wrong prospects, a lackluster sales presentation, and fear that is driven by their own set of troublesome belief systems.

So, let’s start with the easiest real life example.

Apple Computer

You can certainly find lots of other options out there for phones, tablets, laptops and computers.  And yet…EVERY single time I visit the Mac store here in town, it’s packed.  Seriously…every time I go.  Of course, I probably don’t have to work that hard to convince you.  You might even already own an iPhone or Apple product of some kind. Personally, I invest in Apple products because the extra money I spend is more than worth the overall experience with both their service and my day-to-day interactions with their technology products. I’m happy to spend the extra money.

The truth is that the majority of buyers of any product or service actually do prefer to make their decisions based on criteria other than the lowest price.

Here’s the trick…

Buyers will only be willing to forgo price in favor of paying more when they are given a good reason to do so.  In other words, they must be presented with a powerful and persuasive value proposition that stirs their emotions and motivates them to invest in your solution to their problem.

Small business owners love to blame buyers when they don’t buy.  The real truth is that if folks are not buying they are either the wrong prospect for the products and services you offer; and/or you have not done your job in identifying and stirring-up the problem, and therefore, have no real good opportunity to build that value proposition and present your solution.  

It’s YOUR fault.  Not theirs.

So, instead of bemoaning the situation and ignoring your ignorance and your responsibility to fix it, let’s get to work.

Sure, some people and prospects will ALWAYS buy the lowest price, but in my experience, a whole lot more will buy your stuff, pay more, and be a whole lot happier as a result. Also, I don’t want to work with the customers who are only concerned about getting the lowest price. They’re not that much fun to work for.

When I was selling cars, the happiest customers we worked with at the Lexus dealership were those who paid more for their cars, invested in more of the aftermarket products, and who placed a lot more emphasis on their overall luxury car-buying experience rather than getting caught-up in trying to save a few thousand bucks.  They had plenty of money and were not at all shy about parting with it as long as they felt they were getting the experience they desired and deserved.

3 Fundamental Rules about Selling

written by john c ashworth

  1. People don’t want to be sold.
  2. People want to buy things and they do it for emotional, NOT rational reasons. You MUST play to this reality with your sales pitch, and in your selling efforts while also being a true resource for your prospects so that in the end, you’ve provided so much value; touched so many emotional hot buttons; and delivered such an emotionally charged message, that your prospect feels compelled and even obligated to buy from you.
  3. Once people buy, they have a basic human need to walk away and begin justifying their decision with logical reasons. I know I do this. And when I was a car salesman in particular, this was a very important concept to understand, because when buying cars, people so often want to go away and ‘think about it’ once the numbers are presented. It makes sense. It’s a BIG purchase. A BIG financial decision. Assuming I had what they truly needed, and I had done a good job presenting the solution and stirring their emotions; however, it was essential to do everything possible to get them to make the decision to buy now. Even if it got a little uncomfortable. Because if I didn’t, most often, they would NOT come back. Some did, but most don’t. Once your prospects walk away, there is ample room for large amounts of logic to seep back into the buying decision and more often than not, this leads to NO sale.

I’m not saying you need to be a pushy, annoying, obtuse salesperson either. If you have done the right job in getting your prospect to the decision-making table, and you truly have a solution that makes sense for them, it is your job to help them work through their objections in a meaningful and helpful way so that you can make the sale. Because once again, once they sign, they will walk away justifying that decision with logic. But until they do, there are a million logical reasons NOT to make a purchase.

-John

PS Just so you don’t get the wrong idea about the kind of car salesman I had been, I encourage you to go read all of my happy car customer stories from the archives here on the ash flash.

PPS If I had let every person who wanted to ‘think about it’ or ‘sleep on it’ walk away and do that, instead of press back a little and work harder to find their true objections so that I could overcome them and make the sale, I would have made at minimum 30% less money selling cars.

On a roll…

written by john c ashworth
madison car salesman

I got on a roll last night and made a nice round of follow-up calls to prospective car customers and in the process I learned a number of extremely valuable lessons I thought I would share with you today. Most of these lessons were not new, are not totally earth shattering, and will likely not come as a surprise to you either. They are still worth sharing. In fact, it is directly as a result of their mundane nature that I felt compelled to write them down and put them in to this post. A post that marks the beginning of another journey I will share more about later.

  1. First, you can make all the excuses you want about when it might be polite to call people on the phone, but in the end, the goal is to reach people, talk to them in person, leave some kind of lasting impression, and move a car deal to the next step – whatever that might be. I’ll elaborate on that point in #4 titled, “one step at a time.”I heard a story the other day from a sales manager that relates to the idea about when it might be polite or not to call people on the phone.  He told me all about one of his previous golden boys who used to purposely set aside an entire morning to call as many prospects as possible.  He performed this mundane and almost worthless task at a time when he felt most sure he would NOT reach them in person, so that he could quickly leave them a message, get off the phone, and get on to the next call.  This so called strategy allowed him to make more than a hundred calls at a time.  I should also note, that this guy is no longer selling cars.To me, this seems like a great example of completing sales activities and tasks only for the sake of completing them, without any interesting or productive thought about an actual strategy that maximizes impact and minimizes wasted time.  Tonight, I made all of my calls right around 7 PM, and I reached a live person on 80% or better of those calls.  I accomplished more productive follow-up in one 30 minute stretch this evening then I was able to do all day in the land of constant interruption at the dealership.  And to those that might be tempted to make the excuse that it might be too late in the evening to call people, I will offer the following alternate reality…While at least two of these prospects were on their way out the door for the evening and obviously a little reluctant to talk with me, I did reach them in person, and they did take a few minutes to talk with me.  In one case, I moved a car deal exponentially further along in a matter of minutes.  One guy I talked to was obviously a little annoyed with my call, and at the same time impressed with my tenacity.

    “John, geese.  You know the World Series is on, don’t you?” (I had forgotten 🙂  But yes, I have a few minutes.  Man, you’re a hard worker.”

    This guy won’t buy a car from me this time.  We don’t have the right car.  But that one minute call, made at just the right (or wrong depending on your perspective) time, had a major, almost unforgettable impact.  If his team wins the series, he might always remember that damn salesman who called him during the game.  You know…the one who obviously doesn’t watch a lot of TV, nor let the big game get in the way of his goals.

  2. The game for any salesman is to keep as many deals as possible moving on from one step to the next.  Often, a simple phone call, made at just the right time, is the absolute best way to do this.  Sure, I had a frustrating day.  The headache I woke up with never left me.  I didn’t sell any cars.  I spent almost three hours with a prospect I would be happy never to see again, and had one other deal go backwards.  Not exactly a stellar performance.  It would have been very easy to come home, turn on the television, and just forget about what happened.  Well, I certainly did my best to forget the day, but what I didn’t forget is the importance of the telephone, and of staying the course and working smart.
  3. Learn how to use the tools you have in front of you.  In my case, I’ve been working to really understand the mobile application for our contact management software.  It’s a brilliant little tool.  Walking around in my house, playing with Allie (my 6 year old Labradoodle), sipping my sparkling water and relishing in the afterglow of the 15 minute power nap I took when I got home, I made all kinds of stuff happen.  I set appointments for later this week, and very likely added at least one or two deals to the month’s total.  Not bad for 30 minutes of focused smart effort.  Sure made a lot more sense than wallowing in self pitty and accepting lame excuses for why it might be too late to call anyone.
  4. Lastly…One step at a time.  The car business has taught me a lot about myself over the last three years.  One truth it forces on you is that a sale happens one simple step at a time.  The art is being able to recognize these steps clearly in the context of car deals that can vary widely in their scope.  Forcing you to find patience you though you never had.  And forcing you to get better at what you do every day.  Skipping steps always leads to mistakes, and often lost deals.  While tempting to leap forward, your job as a salesman is to remain grounded in the process and to come back to the basics whenever chaos attempts to rule the day.

-John