Buying success by selling value

With a plethora of businesses in every sector fighting it out for market share, it is impossible to compete on price alone. Richard Denny gives readers of The Franchise Magazine exclusive insight into how to win business through superior customer service.

Is it really true that people only buy the cheapest? Are the cheapest cars, clothes and food the biggest sellers? Are the cheapest accountants, lawyers, financial advisers the most sought after? What about the cheapest tyres and life jackets? Do they outsell all the rest? Would you buy the cheapest breast implant, hip replacement or face-lift?

Research carried out by the Denny Group finds that approximately 25 per cent of decisions to purchase are based upon buying the cheapest, five per cent on acquiring the most expensive, leaving approximately 70 per cent of purchases based upon perceived value for money.

In the current ever-changing environment, purchases via the internet are increasing daily, likewise the percentage of people buying the cheapest option from the internet. But as we all know – you get what you pay for. Despite the proven relevance of this slogan, the vast majority of business, and certainly business to business, is still not transacted through cyber space where there is a greater risk of being mislead through embellished websites.

Where purchases are made on the internet, it must be understood that this is down to marketing and not selling, unless a verbal conversation takes place. Words, video and pictures on an internet site are down to marketing and in order to get the best results, the marketer will be advised by the sales part of their brain. Nevertheless, sales achieved over the internet are still purchases like any other.

Professional sales people learn that there is a big difference between the “I want” and the “I need” in the buying process. If the “I need” is paramount (motor insurance for example) the more likely and certain the decision is going to be based upon price. This therefore applies to professional purchasers in business-to-business, where they personally “don’t want” but they “do need” to acquire a product or service for their organisation. However the highly skilled professional purchaser very rarely makes the decision on price or to buy the cheapest. These are often mistakes made by people in the dangerous arena of procurement, which has become the flavour of the month for a couple of years now. Despite this practice’s popularity, many organisations are truly suffering from procurement decisions against the skilled professional buyer making the decision.

Now if the “I want” is the paramount driver to make a purchase it is fascinating how price becomes a little less important as I have given some of the examples at the beginning of this article. What is most important of all is VALUE for money. In my book, Selling to Win, I go into this in greater detail and most importantly of all, I give the prevention of the failed salesperson’s disease called “priceitis”, This is an extremely dangerous affliction that any salesperson can catch at any time in their career and it will destroy their ability to win and close sales.

If it were true that customers only ever bought the cheapest, the role of the salesperson would become redundant. Let’s be realistic; these days, every business owner has to be a salesperson – accountants, lawyers, architects, surveyors, veterinarians etc. are all learning how to win business (to sell) in order to keep their job or stay in business.

So these are the steps in order to win business when not the cheapest.

  1. Find out exactly what your customer/client really wants or needs. Modern day selling is not about telling it is about asking. Ask the question: “Do you only buy the cheapest or are you looking for value?”

  2. Be proud of your prices. Don’t hide them. Don’t bring them in at the end of a discussion hoping that they won’t be noticed or that they are not important. The majority of us have behaviour and a mindset that when we find something that we want, need or are interested in we want to find the price quickly. The more you try to hide the price the more expensive and pricey your goods or services will be perceived as.

  3. Explain the value and the differences of your product and service when compared to a cheaper alternative.

  4. You must believe and I mean truly believe that what you are selling is good value for money. There is a saying that a good salesperson can sell anything. This is rubbish. They can only sell what they believe in.

Sales is no less than a modern day art form, where transparency, honesty and genuine customer focus are key. By providing your clients with genuine value for money, there is nothing standing between your business and a world of success.