Saturday, January 5, 2008

Selling Copiers "Prospects Never Want A Lower Price"

I'm very pleased to present our next "Guest Blogger" Jim Parker from CBS Digital from Longview, Texas. Jim's a great salesmanager and has been oneof my "go to" guys over the years and he has put together a fanstastic Blog for everyone. Jim is also known as "Old Glory" on the P4P Ricoh Family Group Message Boards. Enjoy!

We are all often faced with requests to lower our price. However, is that really what is being asked of us? As Zig Ziglar says, “Thousands of ¼ inch drills are sold every year to people who did not want ¼ inch drills. What they wanted were ¼ inch holes.” Our customers never, I repeat NEVER want a lower price. What they want is a better deal. Whether you are competing with a current payment, competitive bid, whatever, it still boils down to wanting a better deal. The only way the prospect knows how to ask for a better deal is to ask for a better price. A peddler will just give him the better price. A salesperson will help him to see other options that may be available to them.

For the sake of this discussion, I am going to assume that the sales rep has already done their due diligence and gotten clarification. A professional sales rep will never “launch” into a rebuttal without first seeking clarification. “What leads you to believe that my price is too high?” or “Is there a number that we need to work together to try to meet?” are a couple of possible examples. The answer will go a long way toward determining which of the examples below you will want to try. If the answer has something to do with a competitive quote, make sure that the other aspects of the quote are comparable. If you are shopping for a kitchen appliance and get a quote that offers free delivery at a higher price, don’t you go to the cheaper place and ask for free delivery? You may have maintenance pricing that more than offsets the competitor’s cheaper equipment price. See the whole picture before you address the concerns.

I am also assuming the prospect would prefer to do business with you but needs help justifying his decision. If you aren’t his preferred vendor, probably nothing but price will win the deal.
Some of the choices below only apply to cash purchases and some assume a lease arrangement while some are applicable regardless. Every one of these will work for you someday while none of them will work every day. You just need to be prepared to try them all on every deal until something works. Nothing here is rocket-science, just common-sense and over 25 years of industry experience but don’t take any of them lightly. While some may seem obvious to you, none are obvious to your prospect.

In no particular order:

· Remove an accessory. “You can always add it later Mr. Customer.”

· Give away an accessory or supplies. Depending on your pay-plan, it is probably less expensive to give away an accessory worth $1,000 than it is to discount $1,000.

· Give away a printer…same principle as above, but may provide the incentive he needs. However, never suggest that they can take it home for personal use. That might constitute a bribe if the decision-maker is anyone but the owner. You might also consider giving away entry-level document management such as eCopy.

· Step down to a slower model. They may have wanted a 30 ppm because that is the speed of what they are replacing. However, the 25 ppm units of today are as productive as the 30 ppm units of yesterday unless all of their volume is long-run/single-page.

· Most units have multiple finishing options as well as multiple paper- feed options. What about offering a lesser option?

· Lengthen the lease. Sometimes just adding 3 months to the term gets the job done. If they prefer to do business with you, they should be willing to commit to an extra 3 months to get it done.

· If they have 3 months left on their old lease, add 3 months to the term and do a 90-day deferred payment lease rather than buying out the old lease. The customer gets the new equipment now but continues to make payments toward their old lease. Your payments begin when the old lease runs out. You haven’t paid the buy-out and they haven’t had to wait to get the new equipment or make dual payments.

· Step Lease. This is a lease where the first year has a lower payment than subsequent years. “Mr. Customer, what if I had a way for you to have that lower payment for the first year, would that make it easier?” If you can get away with a higher payment for the subsequent years, great! If not, you are still better off than had you given it all away.

· If you can’t compete apples-to-apples, bring in an orange.

By the time you have tried all of these, the prospect will probably have voluntarily told you the real reason he isn’t buying from you and it probably had nothing to do with price to begin with. Either way, you have saved face and maintained your integrity. As long as we can say that, we’ll do OK in this business.

Jim Parker
Director of Sales
Complete Business Systems, Inc.Longview, TX

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