When Customers Say we’re Expensive? Are We?
You’re not too expensive. They’re just being polite.
We all know that value trumps price, and our customers know this, too. So why do we believe them when they tell us our price is too high? We believe them because we’re decent people who think that our clients know their business best, and what they can afford.
But are we really too expensive? Our customers have only two (maybe two and a half) motives for saying this:
- -They want to buy from us, but by saying we’re too expensive they’re trying to get a discount. Kudos to them.
- -They don’t want to buy from us and, to let us down gently, it’s easier to say we’re too expensive. Nobody likes to make other people feel bad. It’s the corporate version of the phrase “just looking” we use when a salesperson approaches us in a shop, but we’ve absolutely no intention to buy.
The half a motive? Yes, maybe we are too expensive for them. But, in my experience, that’s rare.
So, What’s Really Going On?If the price isn’t really the problem for our customer, it’s time to delve into what might be the real issue. And this means reflecting on the key stages of our sales process, and identifying the areas that might be letting us down. Here are just some of the reasons that our customer may not want to buy from us:
- -Is our customer actually a target customer? If not, even the best salesperson in the universe isn’t going to succeed.
- -Did we build good rapport? If we don’t get this right, our customer won’t open up and we’ll never be able to discover where we can bring real value. With only price on the table, it’ll be the only comparator and an easy way to say no to us.
- -Did we truly understand our customer? Without this understanding, again, we won’t know where we can add value. And even if we are cheaper than a competitor, they’ll win the deal if they’ve identified value. Our customer will tell us that we’re too expensive for what we are offering. Value always trumps price.
- -Did we communicate our solution clearly? Did we send a quote rather than showing in person how we can add value? Quote-based solutions open themselves up purely to price comparison.
Or maybe we didn’t close the deal at the right time. Maybe our negotiation was a bit off. Maybe we didn’t follow up properly, and we dropped off our customer’s radar. If we lost the deal because of a weakness in any of our key stages, the only reason we’ll hear is “You’re just too expensive.”
What Clients Don’t DoWouldn’t it be helpful if clients were less polite? If they sat us down with a cup of tea and a box of tissues, and told us:
- -I don’t think we’re the right company for you.
- -I didn’t really warm to you when we first met.
- -I didn’t feel that you understood what was important to me.
- -I didn’t understand what you were offering.
Our development areas are identified by our clients, but in real life they don’t pass this valuable information on to us. This means we need to take ownership of our disappointments and perform a whole ton of self-analysis and reflection to discover where we’re lacking, and then do something about it.
So, What Now?Every deal we lose is an opportunity to do better next time, and here’s how:
- -Every time you lose a deal, review your sales process checklist. Reflect on each stage.
- -Challenge yourself to be truthful: did you get it right or could you have done better?
- -Do one thing differently (and better) next time.
- -Compare the results.
Then rinse and repeat. Sales self-development is a little like flying blind – no customer or boss is telling us where we need to improve, so it’s down to us to reflect and do better next time. The one thing we do know, though, is that we’re not too expensive.
Peter Heredia, Managing Director-Maxsale Solutions
‘Helping Business Leaders Increase Revenue Performance by Delivering 3 – 6 Month Sales Improvement Programs with their Commercial Teams’