Discounting and selling in bad economic times seem to go hand in hand, and they shouldn’t. Selling value is the way to avoid discounting. The mindset of the salesperson plays a role. Here’s another way to help sellers avoid discounting and sell value – A repeatable sales process.

Not only does following one provide a roadmap for the salesperson to know where to go in a sales conversation, which our data indicates can increase closed business by up to 15%, but it also enables sellers to more consistently sell value, thus not feeling the urge to discount. Let me show you how it works.

No Process:

  1. Salesperson builds rapport and allows the conversation to go where it goes.
  2. Salesperson tells why their company is great and all the features and benefits.
  3. Salesperson is caught off guard when the client asks, “How much is this going to cost”?
  4. Salesperson then panics and believes that client must be concerned with price and that the price may be too high.
  5. Salesperson says, “I will get you all the numbers in a proposal” believing that the price will be more acceptable if in writing.
  6. Fails to fully qualify the client before spending time producing a proposal which may waste not only their time, but potentially others in the organization.
  7. Once they present the proposal, they have lost the ability to sell value and the ability to probe about what actually matters to the prospect. The prospect might even evaporate.
  8. The pipeline becomes bloated with “opportunities” that have not been fully qualified.
  9. A full pipeline produces prospecting complacency and without constant new opportunities moving into the pipeline, the salesperson is too vested in partially qualified opportunities in the pipeline.
  10. When the customer does not agree with the value provided on the proposal, they negotiate the price and the salesperson is consumed with closing this opportunity rather than going and getting a new, better-qualified opportunity. Thus, they discount or have more willingness to negotiate internally to lower the price rather than discuss it with the prospect.
  11. Stress and frustration ensue.

Repeatable Process:

  1. After building rapport and setting expectations with regard to the conversation, the salesperson digs in to find how compelling it is to fix or change the client’s situation or solve their problem.
  2. Salesperson determines, based on the emotion of the decision-maker(s), how important it is to actually change or fix the situation.
  3. Salesperson further determines the cost of the problem or situation from the client’s perspective if nothing is done. The salesperson can accurately determine the ROI in their solution.
  4. Salesperson can then determine who is involved in decision making and how a decision will be made, including understanding if all stakeholders view the problem in the same way, with the same economic impact.
  5. The salesperson can easily provide a price or range of prices to determine if the client views the problem and the cost of not fixing it in the same way as they do.
  6. Resources are only consumed to produce a proposal if the ROI makes sense. If not, the salesperson can move on to find the next more well-suited prospect.
  7. The pipeline has velocity to it, where opportunities are moved out quickly if the ROI is not demonstrated. New opportunities are then required to be added.
  8. No salesperson prospecting complacency exists.
  9. The opportunities that remain in the pipeline are fully qualified and close more easily.
  10. Pricing and margins are maintained. Profitability is strong.
  11. Everyone lives happily ever after.

What It Takes to Create a Sales Process

Having a process is a key ingredient in selling the value that your products and services deserve but it only works if call planning, call debriefing and coaching occur. Salespeople need to have tools and resources in order to change their behavior. Just stating the fact that a sales process must be followed will not work.

The manager must help the individual follow a plan for each call. And the manager should help the salesperson think about (and maybe even practice) what they are going to say when the prospect asks about price.

Here are some good ideas to re-route the conversation back to value from price.

“No problem. Happy to share the price, but before I just throw a number out there, can I ask you some specific questions about ____”?

The salesperson should then ask the value-creating questions, the cost of the problem or cost of not fixing the problem.

“Yikes. I messed up. I didn’t even ask you what this problem or situation means to you in terms of financial impact. Can we start there and then I’d be happy to share pricing if it makes sense.”

“Well, I am only going to propose a price if I believe you will receive an adequate ROI in our solution. So, can we talk about that for a minute”?

Selling Value Isn’t Simple but It Works

Selling value is a complex element but is critically important to differentiate from the competition. It includes helping salespeople understand value form the client’s perspective; ensuring their mindset about price and money is correct and involves a repeatable process.

Following a repeatable sales process is the easiest way to immediately provide impact and it requires practically no sales skill to do it. Start using one and you should notice less discounting, increased profitability, and improved confidence within the sales team.

If you want help creating the right repeatable sales process for your company, or if you want any other help with your sales team, let us know, we would be happy to assist. And be sure to review this great white paper produced by Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM, on how to create an effective and efficient sales process.