We Can Get the Product Cheaper Somewhere Else

by Ron Marks

As I travel around the country with Tom Hopkins, speaking to sales professionals, the biggest challenge we hear is that clients claim they can "get it cheaper" somewhere else. Being asked to provide full service at a reduced rate creates stress at many levels for today's salesperson.

With the proliferation of so many discount companies and salespeople willing to sell without regard to the client's' best interest, the problem is compounded because the expectation of lower cost becomes the normal course of business.

If you are a full service agent and are committed to earning what your time is worth, then I have some good news and some good ideas for you. Despite the existence of discount entities, you can earn what your services are worth; if you provide the appropriate value, the market will pay you.

As Tom teaches, there are three ways to handle any objection you face: you can bypass it, brag about it or respond to it.

Bypassing an objection means that you "shelve it" for later and don't deal with it right away. This approach is effective only if the client brings up the premium right away, before you have had a chance to give your full presentation. Note that if you have given the full presentation and the objection come up at the end, bypassing it at this point will only aggravate the client. But if the concept of discounted price comes up right in the beginning, it is best to acknowledge the objection, then shelve it for later.

For example, when they ask what the costs are or if you will discount it in the opening moments of the presentation, you can respond with:

"I understand you are concerned with the cost. At this point, we haven't fully discussed all the objectives you have, so it would be difficult to quote a number. Ultimately, you want the best product for yourself, don't you? Let me make a note of your concern and then I'll show you how we can help you achieve those objectives."

In this strategy, you have acknowledged the client's concern but have not tied yourself to a specific number. The truth is, until you demonstrate everything you can do for them, it is unfair to you to concede or reveal any price information.

The next strategy is designed to build more value in your presentation and make a "pre-emptive" strike on the issue of discounted price. You may need to make a philosophical decision here. In order for this strategy to work, you need to be prepared to walk away from discounted business, at least as a strategy of last resort. When you are newer in the business, that is certainly difficult to do, yet the true professional is willing to stand his ground.

As you transition into your presentation, try this pre-emptive "brag" statement. It will establish the foundation for your position on discounted price and make it more difficult for the client to ask for the concession. Now, before I give you the phrasing, know that there is a risk in bragging about a specific objection: you are bringing something up that the customer may not have thought to raise himself. The best time to use this strategy is when you anticipate the objection or you get to a point in your career where you hear it all of the time.

"As we get started, we have found that in today's economy, we all want the most for our money. A truth I have learned over the years is that the lower price is not always what we really want. Most people look for three things when they purchase anything. They want the very best quality, backed up by the best service, all for the lowest price. I have yet to find a company that can provide all three at the same time. I'm curious, for your long-term happiness, which of the three would you be most willing to give up? Quality? Service? Or low price?"

With this strategy you establish up front that the client will basically "get what they pay for" without using this cliché. In most cases the client will respond logically and let you know he realizes he cannot get the most for the least—and now it will be more difficult for him to bring up this objection later. (In cases where you have a tough client who says he doesn't care, he doesn't want to pay the higher price, you may need to be prepared to walk away from that client!)

This response can also work well if you hear the objection at the end of your presentation, although salespeople around the country are telling us that the most effective way to head off this controversial issue is right up front.

The reality is that even if you end up taking discounted business or lose business to a cheaper competitor, you need to establish your position of value so you have a better place from which to negotiate.

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