A common concern raised today amongst the owners of small to medium sized businesses is that it’s incredibly challenging to compete with larger companies on price. As business coaches, we hear it often. The perception many struggling entrepreneurs have is that consumers shop on price alone. In fact, the only reason many customers ask for the price up front is that business owners have trained them to act that way.
Think of a time when you’ve gone shopping for something and not known exactly the model number, style, colour or other features and asked for a price without the facts? Did the salesperson just give you a price, or did they ask you a few questions to discover more about what you were after?
By asking questions, the salesperson likely helped you clarify what you were after – what colour, size, capacity or options you were looking for with a product or what you needed from a particular service. That would, in turn, help them to make suggestions about what might be best suited to you and what the price range is.
Asking questions to determine what a client is looking for also lets them know that the salesperson is genuinely interested in helping them, which can often make the particular price less important – customer service is key. A good salesperson, in turn, will know to suggest a couple of different options, in a range of prices, and lead the customer into the sale. For example, “Wonderful! I can put that away or process that on credit card and have it delivered to you tomorrow, which would you prefer?”
Even if the customer’s preference is to set the item aside for the moment, it gives the salesperson an opportunity opportunity to get the customer’s name and contact information, enabling them to follow up later and close the deal or potentially entice them with something else in the future.
These simple sales techniques can be applied to virtually anything. It doesn’t matter whether they’re shopping for a kettle, a car or a funeral home. It’s just a matter of determining what the client is really looking for when they’re enquiring about the price, and what’s most important to them regarding their buying decisions.