Top-Shelf Tip No. 12:

"A mediocre person tells. A good person explains. A superior person demonstrates. A great person inspires others to see for themselves."

Harvey Mackay

Four Ways To Avoid The Pricing War

Have you ever been in a situation of battling for the business against a competitor, only to find yourself competing based on price discounts? This can be frustrating because suddenly your differentiators—such as high-quality products and service excellence—go out the window.

Or, in some cases, sales professionals will present a discounted price to the customer in an effort to win the business when the customer did not request the discount. We make the mistaken assumption that the customer is shopping on price alone; it might be that the customer is willing to pay more for better quality and service.

Corporate sales and leadership expert Meridith Elliott Powell says in her recent blog, 4 Sales Strategies To Get Out Of The Price War, "One of the most common mistakes I see with sales professionals is that most assume price is going to be an automatic part of the sales conversation. Far too often they offer to cut or negotiate the price without even understanding if you have to."

Continuing our special PPAI Expo week series, Promotional Consultant Today shares Powell's four tips for focusing your sales conversation away from price and more on value to your customer. Powell was a luncheon keynote speaker this week at Expo and her session was recorded and will be available soon at

Select The Right Target: If you want to stop selling on price, then focus on customers who are more value-driven. Every industry and price point has a target audience and you need to understand yours. Focus on those prospects who value your product or solution in terms of service, quality and other value adds. That is your "right target."

Ask and Listen: The initial sales interview is key to understanding what your customers value most. You need to ask great open-ended questions and then really slow down and listen, making sure that the sales interview is about letting customers talk 80 percent of the time and you talking 20 percent. Listen for them to articulate their concerns and goals. Many times, you'll discover that they don't bring up price—which means it's not their top concern.

Shift Your Paradigm: Take price of out the conversation unless your customer brings it up, or you hear that price is important to them. Understand that price is not what you are selling, and with the right target market, price is not what matters most. Take it off the table; build your sales process around the value and outcomes your customers will receive.

Position Value: Customers have to understand what they are paying for and feel good about what they are spending. When you have asked great questions and really listened, you understand what matters most to your customers. So, you can position what you are selling as a direct solution to their challenges. Your customer will feel heard, understood and validated—incidentally three things that would have easily convinced them to pay more for your product or service.

Negotiating price should always be the last thing you are discussing when talking with customers. If you have chosen the right target market, asked great questions and really listened, and positioned your sale as value add and solution focused, chances are customers are more than willing to meet at your price level.

Getting the price you want is about your ability to ensure your customers understand the value they are getting, and your ability to quit using price as an automatic sales strategy.

Source: Meridith Elliott Powell is an award-winning author, keynote speaker and business strategist who was voted one of the top 15 Bubiness growth experts to watch by Currency Fair, and one of the top 20 sales experts to follow by LinkedIn. With a background in corporate sales and leadership, her career spans several industries including banking, healthcare and finance. Powell worked her way up from entry-level to C-Suite. She is a Master Certified Strategist, Executive Coach and Certified Speaking Professional, a designation held by less than 12 percent of professional speakers. She is Master Certified DISC Trainer and coach, and has facilitated and coached thousands in the program.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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