Needing a different lens

July 17, 2014

Maybe it is an overused metaphor, but as a keen amateur photographer I understand the value of changing lenses to gain a different perspective. I also see the value in altering the “aperture” to narrow my focus (and allowing me to blur the background out) , or indeed broaden my focus and let more of the scene come in to focus.

So ok you have all the lenses but the question is how often to you change them, to gain a different perspective?

Joe was a classic example of this. Joe is a successful entrepreneur, and such he recognised the necessity to maintain his energy levels. He was overweight and out of shape. He lacked energy and he simply hated the way he felt and looked. So he took action and hired a fitness coach.

Joe is a man of action and so he committed and he did see results. He felt more energetic, but even after a year of continuous training every time he looked at himself in the mirror, he could never see the progress. He remained deeply entrenched in a negative view of how he looked. And despite continuing with the training, he was getting more and more frustrated by his perceived lack of progress.

You see Joe only focused on what wasn’t quite perfect yet. He simply couldn’t see the progress he was making. That is until one day whilst in a training session he was standing in front of a mirror doing some bicep curls.

What was unusual this day was that he was much closer to the mirror, which had the effect of “cutting off his head” from view. In other words he could only see his body from the neck down.

And something was different, dramatically different. When he couldn’t see his own face, he saw a physique he didn’t recognise. One that was toned up. One that looked fit, one that looked exactly like the one he had worked so hard for. Joe had a very powerful moment of personal insight. And it changed his perspective on himself forever. He was simply using the wrong lens. The wrong viewpoint.

In my experience this is often what we do in our daily roles as leaders and sales leaders. We get so caught up in what doesn’t work, what doesn’t look right, what is going wrong, that we lose the ability to simply “change the lens” and hence our viewpoint.

Rarely is a problem viewed with a different lens as big as we viewed it originally. When we remove our “personal maps” and views of the world. When we challenge our own filters that block our ability to see things as they really are, like Joe did accidentally, we gain insights. We see something that changes our perspective. And that can be the nudge we need to move forward again.

Getting stuck is normal, and  often a simple nudge is all we need.

If you don’t feel you have a different lens, no problem. Talk to someone. But you are not looking for advice, you are looking for perspective. That can come from the most unlikely of sources. My 6 year old and 8 year old sons have lenses on life that just fill me with wonder. I can’t buy these, but I can learn from them..

Simple but not easy….

Best regards;

Best regards;

Call me on +353(86) 7732201
My Blog

You Need Your Script, but You Aren’t A Parrot

July 3, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
You Need Your Script, but You Aren’t A Parrot
Scripting is essential to your success. Carefully chosen structure and words will always improve results. You have a limited time to connect and build rapport and your script will enable this more easily. 
You aren’t a Parrot though. You must rehearse your script. You’ll never read it. Never. 
You’ll rehearse to the extent that is just a natural sounding conversation you are engaging in. If you sound scripted you’re going to have resistance. 
Find the words you feel you are comfortable with. Be natural.
A memorised call will always outperform a spontaneous approach. 
Practice, Practice and Practice more. There is no substitute for this. 
-Try recording your script to see how it sounds
-Ensure that you always leave the space for others to respond and feel included
-Always anticipate the 4 main objections, Price, Time, Relationships and Need. They are guaranteed to come, so are therefore easy to be prepared for. The top Salespeople love objections because they know they can be overcome them. 
“We already have a supplier” 
“Great, so you are 100% happy with the prices, the service and the quality you are getting, and see no room for improvement”?
Now before you go we’ve tried this and it didn’t work (Your objection!! to doing it). We say “OK you’ve tried it but have you tried enough until it did work”?
Excuses are just that, excuses. They rarely have foundation in real action. In other words you are looking for the perfect script. The one that works 100% of the time. The NO FAIL script. And it doesn’t exist. 
This is a numbers game we live in. This is all about improving your odds.If by handling this objection this way you improve your conversion rate by 1% you have a really tangible end result of a €1,000 sale. So you must persevere. 
You are just trying to create an opportunity to continue the conversation. And this is only achieved through great preparation. Script enables this and give you great confidence. 
Some Useful Tips;
-Be sincere and warm
-Be brief
-Highlight 3 to 4 key results you can deliver to the prospect
-Leave space for them to interact
-Ask lots of questions
“Hello Mr X, this is John here from the Y Hotel in Dublin. Have you ever visited us before? 
When was the last time you were in Dublin? 
Recently we sent you an invitation, did you receive it? 
Are you the person who makes conference decisions in your company, or is it someone else?
Do you plan to take us up on our special offer now, or do you plan to request more information. 
(Watch the language here. It is quite directive and eliminates the “are you thinking about”. Do you plan..)
As you probably read, we are offering businesses who book a conference in our hotel during September an amazing 25% off for groups of 20 or more. We are also offering complementary coffees for the groups daily. 
Are you holding a conference this year? Where do you normally hold your conferences. 
How many normally attend your conferences? 
I think you may be interested in saving money and having a first class facility available for this conference?
And just to remind you we are offering 25% off, complementary coffees, plus we include all conference equipment such as projectors etc. 
When would you like to make arrangements to book? 
This is a well scripted conversation. And the emphasis is on conversation. Note the positive language and the numerous questions. Is it perfect?  No. But you can perfect your own message and try above all else to achieve a balance that is non threatening but also achieves the goal of making the sale (or getting the appointment).
Failed scripts mean failed calls. 
Ensure loads of personality, great structure, plenty of space. Simple and to the point. 
You’ve only got 15 to 20 seconds to make an impression. 
How Do You Keep Motivated? 
-Have competitions
-Reward yourselves for the activity and the results
-Ask for our insthinktive call motivation sheet 
-Focus on the end results. The new clients. 
-Focus on having fun, they are just people after all
-Enjoy the fact that you are getting instant feedback from your marketing 
-Take regular breaks, work for 90 minutes then change scene. Listen to some music. Grab a coffee. Take a walk. 
-Focus on the results your product or service can deliver
-Experiment with different words and scripts 
-Have daily goals
Key Takeaways
- Using the phone is a low cost and effective strategy 
- Create simple scripts that engage prospects and open up the conversation
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Sales is a long game

Networking On The Phone

June 25, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Networking On The Phone 
Telephone marketing is a phenomenally powerful marketing tool. It is a much maligned strategy but that in our opinion is driven by a lack of understanding about how, and when to use this tool. 
A telephone call is the most immediate strategy we know for getting through to prospects.
It is a lot more personal than a letter or an advert. It is also a much lower cost than direct mail, flyers, marketing brochures and advertising. 
You can literally get an unlimited calls package with your mobile phone company for less than €50 per month. That’s the most cost effective marketing strategy I know for the results you can get.
You’ll also know that using the phone in conjunction with a direct mail is the smartest way to leverage the strengths of both. And we strongly encourage that you have a simple system of follow up on the phone, post direct mails being posted. Leave a week to follow up and then call. 
Removing The Negatives
OK let’s get the negatives out of the way. Yes using the phone isn’t among the easiest of strategies. It requires a level of determination and a positive attitude to overcome the inevitable rejections. That is if you see them as rejections. Don’t. 
From a mindset perspective you must focus on the end results. Let’s take a quick look here at the potential. 
Let’s assume that you need to make 100 calls to generate an order. Now we work with clients whose average order values in the main exceed €1,000. What’s your average order value? Let’s use the average of €1,000.
So for every 100 calls you generate €1,000 in sales revenue. 
Assuming the average call takes you roughly 3 minutes. Remember you probably will only connect with on average 30% of those you call. And the actual conversations will vary in length but as an average 3 minutes is workable. 
300 minutes is 5 hours of concentrated work. Now you are a business owner or a full time sales person and you work at least 50 hours per week. 
So based on these rough numbers if you made 1,000 calls it would take you 50 hours in time, and generate you €10,000 in new sales in a working week. 
That’s working on a 1% conversion rate of sales to calls. That’s a €500,000 business annually. 
Where would you get that sort of result for 50 hours of your time a week? 
Clearly you aren’t going to be on the phone 10 hours a day but you can leverage others to be. Personally we wouldn’t recommend any more than  3 to 4 hours a day as an average. 
It’s tough work, but very rewarding. 
Your goal will always to be to improve  your conversion rates, by improving your scripts, your approaches, your words, and your direct mails. You will test and measure consistently to improve your results. 
Repetition is the key
One call is never enough. You must apply my “follow UP” strategy to increase the number of touches you’ll need over time. Some will buy now. Others need time to build our trust and hence the follow up.
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; You Need Your Script, but You Aren’t A Parrot 

Need ( We just don’t need it !!)

June 19, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Need ( We just don’t need it). 
To be honest if we have followed PRESENT properly (and it’s a system you can’t use piecemeal). This should never become an issue. Why? because you’ve been through 
EXAMINE and you’ve established there is a need. 
You will never proceed if there is no need. There is no SHOW phase if there’s no need. 
By right the need should have been established in advance of our meeting with a qualification process or call. 
Nonetheless here are a couple of suggestions to handle this objection. And it mirrors the approach we’ve used previously. We are going to use quite challenging questions. 
“Am I right to assume that you don’t place a value on a (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused ) business?
“You are interested in a (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused ) business aren’t you?
“You are interested in becoming more productive and effective aren’t you?
“You are you interested in growing your sales and profits by ?% in the first year aren’t you?
“You do recognise the huge benefits of having a product or service that can deliver a business that’s (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused ) don’t you?
Remember this;
Use the power of story throughout your handling of sales firewalls. Stories are quite simply the most powerful way to overcome any objection. 
When you can tell real stories of clients who just like your prospect had concerns over the price, but realised that having bought it they were actually saving themselves money. You have a very powerful proposition that can be easily related to.
For example if you were selling a high value machine and the client didn’t want to buy the additional maintenance contract for an additional fee. You could say “ I understand why you have that concern, however when we worked with company X who shared this concern, they found that the cost of the maintenance package was substantially lower than the cost of having any remedial maintenance done throughout the year. The savings were in fact up to 50%. 
What may have seemed an additional cost initially actually resulted in substantial savings over the lifetime of the machine”
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Networking on the phone 


Price – The old reliable (Firewall to sales)

June 17, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Price – The old reliable. 
And one objection that dominates the marketplace  now. And we can’ t ignore it. However it  is not and never will be the main determinant of the successful sale.
Because it is such an old reliable, how do we end up being thrown by it? We’ve always been amazed at how easily sales people are thrown by the obvious. “You’re too expensive” or we don’t have the budget. And we do mean obvious. It’s coming at you, so be ready. 
We’ve outlined some great responses below. You may want to copy them or edit them to suit you and your business. But you MUST practice these until they are second nature. 
You mean € is too much to pay for a € improvement in your profits?
“You mean that € a month is too much to a price to pay for improving your sales by X%?
“You mean that the cost will impede your ability to substantially grow your business and profits? 
“If I can save you €X a day over the next 90 days what impact would that have on your business?
“Isn’t it true that the cost is less important than the return on the investment? 
“Isn’t it true that if we get results in reducing the costs first we can then reinvest this in to growth?
Remember to rephrase statements like “It costs too much” ???
Say it back to the prospect.  “Really it costs too much”?
It’s too big a commitment  ”Really It’s too big a commitment”?
“Your primary objective is to become more (more compliant, more innovative, more efficient etc)  isn’t it?
“I know you are concerned by the cost of this, but wouldn’t you prefer a more profitable, more successful, more focused business than one that is just focused on the costs?
“While the cost is vital to you now, in the long run the benefits of having a (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused )business will surely outweigh this concern over upfront costs? 
“I know that economic concerns are a factor however, in the long run don’t you think investing in a more (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused ) business with growing sales will outweigh any concerns you have now? 
“Isn’t it true that the cost is less important than the return on the investment? 
“Isn’t it true that if we get results in reducing the costs first we can then reinvest this in to growth? 
“May I ignore this concern over price, if I can prove that the return on your investment will significantly outweigh any costs incurred?
“Why is the cost of X more important than the ROI you can achieve using X?
“Am I right in assuming that if we could address the concerns over the cost, then we could proceed next week?
“If we could save €…. per day for the next 90days what impact would that have on your profits?
Am I right to assume that the cost of X is the only factor stopping you from proceeding?
Timing ( Not now, talk to me in the future).
This is a beauty if you are the prospect. We can feign interest by putting you off. Giving you hope of a deal done, but in the future. And in most cases it never happens. But if you’re like a lot of sales people, you have a  lot of “future oriented opportunities” and they should keep the boss happy, shouldn’t they? 
No. The general rule is that if they are not ready to buy in the next 90 days they will never buy. I say general as I know some of you work in industries with longer lead times, but as a rule of thumb 90 days is about right. 
The key issue for us is that we challenge this objection to see if it is real or just an excuse to put us off, and close the meeting. 
Remember the most important phase in PRESENT is EXAMINE, and if you have done this well you will be in a position to use some of these challenging questions below. And some are quite challenging, but deliberately so. We want to leave our meetings at least knowing where we stand. 
“You don’t want to wait for things to get better before you proceed do you? 
“You don’t want to miss opportunities to grow your business now do you? 
“Why do you refuse your business the opportunity to become (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused )?
Why do you refuse your business the enormous benefits that X can deliver to you now?
Am I right to assume that the thing that is holding you back from starting is actually the 
reason we should get started? That is you can’t /don’t have (enough profits, enough success, full compliance, enough innovation, good enough systems,  and ……)
“When is the right time other than now to benefit from being (more profitable, more successful, more compliant, more innovative, more effective and more focused )?
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Need ( We just don’t need it)


Learn To Love Firewalls

June 12, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Learn To Love Firewalls.
Yes learn to love firewalls that sabotage your sales. Prospects will always have firewalls and objections. This is the natural order. It’s as certain as night follows day and that’s why you should love them. They are  guaranteed.
If they’re guaranteed to arise, then you can plan for them better and overcome them more easily. I stress more easily because there is simply no fool proof 100% system for overcoming firewalls in sales.
Over the years we’ve hired literally hundreds of salespeople. We’ve coached hundreds more. And their two weakest areas are in building
Rapport and Handling Objections. 
You’ve done a superb job with your marketing materials and your websites. And on the phone call building rapport so far. Now we need to concentrate on the guaranteed show stoppers. I say guarantee because they’re guaranteed to come up. I say show stoppers because for far too many sales people they view them as show stoppers.
They are anything but. And you need to get this out of your mind.
All firewalls can be dealt with professionally and with ease. Providing you have excellent preparation. Most don’t and therefore revert to sheer panic as a strategy. You won’t .
Using our PRESENT model we will focus on the ELIMINATE NO stage which is handing objections.
If you want to be able to handle objections like the best, then you have to practice like the best. Quite simply there are only really 4 to 6 main objections. The rest are normally versions of the same four, price, time, need, relationship.
Here are 3 Questions You Must Be Able To Answer at any time.
If you want to be a great objection handler then you must be able to answer these 3 simple questions.
Warning a failure to be clear and concise in your answers will lead to no deal..
Q 1 Why Should I listen to you?
What a great question. And relevant. And essential for you to answer clearly.
Write this down and spend some time thinking about your answer with as much clarity as possible.
Can you save your prospect money?
Can you make your prospect more competitive?
Can you make your prospect more compliant?
Can you eliminate costs for your prospect?
Can you help your prospect grow their sales more profitably?
Can you make your prospect’s business more efficient?
Can you make your prospect more money?
The real question is can you gain your prospect’s immediate attention by making them want to listen further.
Q2 What’s in it for me (WIIFM)
We all have on average 80,000 thoughts a day. Wow!. And guess what, the majority of them are about ourselves. This is reality. Your prospects care about one thing, and one thing only  themselves. You need to be able to address this key question. If there is nothing in it for them. There is nothing in it for you. Guaranteed.
So write down now how they will benefit. How you will enrich their lives in some way. How you will improve their lives in some way.
See the world from their perspective. Why would I buy anything that doesn’t benefit me in some way.
Q3 So What ?
You better know your So What.
Don’t take these questions literally. I rarely hear this question in as direct a manner. But it is always wise to prepare for this type of question. And it’s a reasonable question.
So you say you can improve my business, so what? Why should I care?
That’s what your prospect will be thinking, if not saying.
So write down now the reasons why it’s important that they listen. That it’s important that they give you their undivided attention. And that you have something that can really impact them and their business.
Now let’s get specific on the types of objections you’ll have to handle, and how we can overcome these.
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Price the old reliable

Creating Sales Momentum

June 10, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Creating Sales Momentum 
One of the greatest challenges we see amongst SME’s today is that they don’t have a consistent method of generating sales momentum. They don’t generate enough leads to convert. They may have a great product. A great team. A great service, but they don’t have enough prospects who actually either know about them, or want to do business with them.
You can’t create a vibrant business without creating sales momentum. You need to be able to make it easy for them to find you. And grab their attention.
And they’ll be interested in you if you address their Whys effectively.
Let’s repeat the mantra. What are your prospects Whys? Their problems?
1) Problem 1
2) Problem 2
3) Problem 3
As we write this we received a direct mail, and it addresses our concerns head on. And it’s framed as all good attention grabbers tend to be in to a question.
“Are you hard of hearing? Could you use a Government grant?
It addresses the Why head on. And if your prospect is afflicted with this problem, chances are they’ll be interested.
Here are some of the best Ad Questions
“Can you hear me now? – Verizon phone ad
“Where do you want to go today” ? – Microsoft
“Where’s the beef” ? Wendy’s
“How do you spell relief”? – Rolaid ad
“Wassup”? – Budweiser
The power is always in the question. If you can elicit a response you are engaging prospects in a conversation. More conversations means more momentum. More momentum means more leads. More leads will inevitably lead to more clients.
You need to focus on creating momentum.
Momentum And What You Need To Say
You’ve got a great product and / or service. You know it’s in demand. You can see from Google Analytics what people are searching for. Yet they aren’t responding.
Clearly the first issue may be that your marketing is just not addressing your prospects concerns.
If I want to buy a new laptop and I go searching for information on a laptop, I’m naturally inclined to opt for one that addresses my problems and answers any questions I have about what it can do for me.
If I can’t have my concerns addressed or my problems answered, I’m out of there and quickly.
Have you ever gone in to an electronics  store and asked a simple question like “Have you a laptop that’s suitable for business”. And been literally bamboozled by the techno babble, and the endless and meaningless talk about RAM and ROM.
I’ve walked out of too many electronic stores that have quite simply failed to address my problems. And failed to listen.
Your marketing has to achieve what their sales team can’t do face to face. You need to be able to have the same impact as a face to face conversation with your marketing.
Your website needs to act as a virtual sales person and deliver the 1 to 1 experience as much as possible.
- Engage the prospect.
- Make them like you.
- Make them trust you.
- Make them want to learn more.
- Make it easy for them to have a concern addressed
- Let them know how it will enrich their lives
- Let them know that you are a trustworthy company with a reputable product.
- Update them on the technical specifications IF they need it
- Let them see your testimonials
- Offer them some form of guarantee
- Demonstrate the value you offer them
- Make it easy to contact you
- Make it easy to buy from you
- Make it easy to try it
- Reinforce why they need it.
- Convey that’s it’s easy to use
- Have tips on how to use it
- Have tips on how to maximise it’s value
Leave no stone unturned in your desire to answer every question conceivable. By doing so you are going to dramatically improve your lead generation and your overall results.
Clarity and simplicity will make decision making easier for prospects. That’s the goal here
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Learning to love Firewalls

Focus on the WHY.

June 6, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Focus on the WHY.
All sales are 100% emotional. Full stop. If you focus on product on features in your marketing, you are missing a huge opportunity to demonstrate value. 
Apple are masters of this. As I write this they have just launched a new IPad. It must have literally hundreds of features, and they are focusing on one. The High Resolution Screen. 
And they are marketing to the Why. The emotional response people have to seeing their family photographs in amazing detail. To playing their games with crystal clear detail. To watching movies and surfing the web on a screen that has greater definition than your HD television. 
They have identified the reasons people will want to buy and marketed to them on their terms. The Why in your sales and marketing is essential. 
Simon Sinek in a brilliant presentation on TED talks about the power of the WHY. And he explains that most businesses market the WHAT (What we are is accountants) and the HOW ( and we do the monthly accounts for small businesses, and do the wages and credit control functions) rather than the WHY. 
“We help businesses understand their numbers better, so that they can make better decisions, make more money and plan for a better more financially rewarding future”. 
What truly motivates your prospects. What’s their Why? 
Why would they want to use your product? Why choose you? What difference can you make in their lives? 
Focus on these reasons and you are starting to focus on how you will create real value for them. And they’ll begin to see it, have an emotional response to it. And in doing so be less focused on the price and see the value to them. 
Their Why is not Your Why
Remember this key point. Their Why is the one that counts, not yours. So you need to ask them. When we started out this business. I assumed the Why’s of my clients. We assumed that they valued our structured and systemised approach. That they placed a huge value on knowing that there was a system and proven structure to back our service.We were wrong. 
When we surveyed these clients and asked why they bought. They said it was our expertise. Our experience, our knowledge. They felt that they could trust us as a safe pair of hands to guide them to better results. This was an eye opener and a rude awakening. 
We were marketing our system and our structure. And we should have been marketing to the customers Why 
Focusing on the customers business, transformed our business. We connected to their Why better. 
Timing and  Pricing
How many times has a sale been lost because the prospect has asked the price and you’ve answered, before you’ve even discussed what you can do for them? 
You must focus on the reasons your prospects will want to buy. Their Why. You must appeal to their Why first and outline all of the benefits they will receive before you even contemplate raising pricing. 
This is even more important in services that have an intangible element to them. You will eliminate the firewalls if you build a picture first of a better world for customer. And what it would be like using your product or services. 
Never give a price before you have established Value. Remember to review the PRESENT model there are a host of ideas in ELIMINATE NO  on how to handle the pricing question or objection.
As a rule of thumb, have a clear strategy on pricing. Stick to it and persevere. Yes you may lose some sales, but everyone does. And it’s ok to lose some sales, especially to your non ideal clients. Get more of those ideal clients who you understand and want value. And sell your value to them.
Key Takeaways
- Customers buy on value not price
- Get clear on your value proposition
- Sell your value to meet their Why
- Avoid discussions on price until you’ve established their Why
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; You must invest in marketing

You need to Add Value to the Sale

June 3, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
You need to Add Value to the Sale
Value is the buzz word but it is the crux of everything when it comes to pricing. The best example today and we’ll admit one used often is Apple. As you read this I am typing on an Apple Mac. I have an Apple IPhone at my side and my IPad is in my case. All products that typify the way value has been brought to the fore.
Everyone of these products has equivalents, that are significantly cheaper. My MacBook Pro is up to 4 times the cost of other equivalent laptops. And yet I bought it, love it and would recommend it to anyone? Why? For me it’s simply down the the perceived value I get, and the ease of use. It is simply a thing of beauty. And it is so easy to use and the value of this for me is immense.
While the PC market is in rapid decline. IPads, and Macs are flying off the shelfs. Value creation is the key.
You could package your products together and offer significant value. Hotels are experts at this. By offering weekend deals, with free meals etc., they are able to maintain their pricing points and deliver extra value. You can maintain profit margins very effectively in this way.
If you sell a professional service, you can add additional services as part of the package as a bonus.
For example if you are an accountant you could provide a free helpline for any client queries. You could provide FREE reports on business and finance. You could offer FREE advice to clients.
If you are an equipment provider you can offer FREE additional support for breakdowns etc.
Ultimately it’s about positioning the product and service as a high value must have.
How to handle pricing firewalls
We hear this a lot from business owners. “if we were able to overcome the pricing objections we’d have more sales”.
Is this really the case though? Honestly. Is it because of the prospect, the market or is it really down to a fear around the who pricing conversation.
Recently in a coaching session with a client we talked about pricing and the effect it was having on his business.
He remarked that he and his team believed it to be a bigger issue than it actually was. Why? He had hired two new sales people over the last year, both from his competitors.
The first sales meeting was an eye opener…The existing salesforce were saying “we always thought you were cheaper than us, and that’s how we lost the business”.
The new members of the team (former competitors) were saying “we always thought you were cheaper than us too”….
The penny dropped. Pricing was not the challenge. Competitor knowledge was the challenge.
You can overcome pricing firewalls ( not always I do live in the real world)and here’s some tips.
Work On Your Team’s Pricing Mindset
Confidence is everything in a pricing conversation. If you or your team have a fear around pricing you’ll never truly overcome these firewalls.
A great example of this was one I experienced recently in one of the largest retailers in Ireland. I was buying a new leather presenter folder for my materials. When I presented the folder to the sales person they said “are you sure you want this? it is €129?” And their expression said everything. They were so price conscious themselves that they were almost turning away a sale.
You need to build a confidence around your pricing structure. You need to build the team’s confidence and their mindset to handle pricing with ease.
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; Focus on the Why


Handling Pricing in a Tough Environment

May 29, 2014

Insthinktive Influencing
Leveraging pricing in Sales
Handling Pricing in a Tough Environment
You’d want to have been living in a bunker for the last few years if you haven’t been confronted by the pricing Firewall. Or Firewall as most envisage it to be. I am amazed by the fear this question, raised by a prospect seems to create in the minds of the sellers. 
You’ve delivered a brilliant presentation you followed the PRESENT model verbatim and you get to the close, and you hear “ you’re too expensive”. 
And you run the gambit of emotions, fear, trepidation, and panic. And you offer a discount on the spot. You need to be very wary of this it could have serious longterm consequences. 
We met with a businessman several years ago. His sales had dropped by 25% over the last 2 years. And he informed us that he had recently decided to drop his prices by 25% also. 
Now this wasn’t a decision that was based on any tangible reasons. He hadn’t restructured his manufacturing process and streamlined his business. He was a distributor. He hadn’t assessed that the market would grow by 25% plus. He actually anticipated that he would just consolidate sales numbers. He hadn’t negotiated a lower price with the original manufacturers. No he had made an arbitrary decision to lower prices. 
We simply asked what impact this would have on the profits of the business. He admitted he hadn’t thought about this. Would he sell more to compensate? No the market was shrinking. And you know what so was his business, and profits. He was out of business in under a year. 
Get Proactive on Pricing 
Reactive decisions on pricing can be serious and can be very difficult to reverse once you embark on this road. Once you have created an expectation it is very hard to break this. 
Discounting leads to more  discounting, and can create a vicious downward cycle.
I worked for a large greeting card company, many years ago, and we were faced with an increasingly competitive market from a pricing perspective. One of our major competitors was literally going in to our clients and offering an additional 20% discount over above anything they received from ourselves. On top of that they offered full sale or return of their product. This did initially hurt as we lost some clients. But we didn’t react. We continued to focus on the quality of the product and service we provided. 
The competitor continued to be aggressive in the market place. The result of which was that their clients bought more than they needed ( it was on sale or return anyway ). They would often send back up to 40% of what was bought unsold. 
The problem was that the competitor started to recycle that stock again at a later stage. They were losing money and couldn’t invest in either product or service. Eventually they went out of business. 
New owners came on board. The new owners tried to break the cycle of discounts and sale or return, but couldn’t. The expectation was so engrained that they also failed to rejuvenate the business. And they closed down for good only two years later. 
Focus on your Value Proposition
We’ve all done it. Given a discount too hastily and guess what? You are  asked for more, and more and more. Why not? They’ve sensed a weakness and they want to expose it. 
It is a recipe for disaster and endless negotiation. You need to focus exclusively on the value you offer. When you give a price, you must give it with confidence. When you are asked for a discount you say NO! If you have the belief that you product or service can deliver the value. Stick to your guns and you will be rewarded. 
Not the naysayers amongst you will immediately highlight the deals you lost on price, and justify the practice of discounting. But that is missing the point entirely. The exception does not determine the rule. 
You need to commence all business relationships with a negotiation that is beneficial to both parties. And that means you make a profit and your clients get huge value. 
There is always a section of the marketplace that buys on price and price alone. But these are not your ideal clients. They are not the ones you will target. If you have a business that is dogged by negotiations on price then it’s time maybe for a rethink. 
Having a clear pricing policy and strategy will enable you to achieve better results. Be careful not to allow too much flexibility for your sales team to make decisions on pricing. 
This can fall foul of the weaker sales person, who’ll always default to the highest level of discount. 
Simple, but not easy…..
Next session; You need to add value to the sale