Buying habits and…

…sales approach.

Why can’t my salespeople sell value the way I do?” Despite repeated attempts to get his salespeople to sell value, including going on sales calls with them, his salespeople continued to sell on price.

I asked him “What type of buyers are your salespeople?”

“I don’t look at their buying habits. I focus on their sales records.” he responded.

I explained to him that people’s selling styles mirror their buying habits.  Human nature causes us to think we’re normal – that everyone thinks as we do. So if we’re price buyers we assume that everyone else is as well. Similarly, value buyers assume that others place greater value on things other than price in their buying decision.

It’s counter-intuitive, but if you want a more productive sales force make sure that their buying habits align with your pricing strategy. If you choose a low-prices strategy (which you know I never recommend), then make sure that your salespeople are price buyers.

If, however, you’re using value-based pricing or selling value, make sure that you hire value buyers for your sales staff.

How can you tell whether someone is a price buyer or a value buyer? Ask them about a time when they got a really good deal. Price buyers will regale you with stories of bargain prices they got. Conversely value buyers will tout the quality, service or other aspect the purchase, then mention that they got a reasonable price.

If you happen to be in a buying situation with one of your salespeople pay attention to how early in the process they ask about price. Many price buyers want to know the price before they learn what an offering can do for them.  On the flip side of the coin, value buyers typically want to know what the offering can do for them before they ask about price.

These are a couple of simple techniques that you can use to assure that your sales force is aligned with your pricing strategy. It’s also another example of how pricing strategy can be undermined by operating practices e.g. the way we hire salespeople.

Author – Dale Furtwengler