We Are discussing here Many years ago I sold e-commerce solutions. Unfortunately, that was when the Dot.Com bubble burst. Many e-commerce solution providers closed or lowered their prices just to get sales. Even for the smallest solution, the sales cycle can take 6 months or more.
Instead of drastically reducing prices like everyone else, I found that the reason many of our customers postpone or cancel their purchases was that they lacked the confidence to generate some form of a positive return on their investments in electronic commerce. So rather than selling e-commerce IT solutions, I repackaged our offerings and “changed the game”, so to speak. Rather than following a customer for 6 months to get the sale, we offer comprehensive training to inform customers on how to profit from e-commerce or e-commerce, that they can make a buying decision within a few days. After the initial training, when customers know what they need to do to make a profit from e-commerce, they tell us what solutions they need and we just meet their needs. It was an instant hit.
Why the price is NOT the real objection
It was in the year 2000. Since then, I haven’t seen many innovative or creative ideas used in formulating the strategy. And given today’s increased competitive pressures and customer demands, many businesses are in dire need of a creative boost in their sales strategies.
One of our clients, the Flint Group, is a leader in the flexography industry. What they do is provide flexible printing plates so that printers can print on bends or uneven surfaces. Being the leader in their field and providing high-quality products, their selling price will be anything but cheap.
However, while many of their potential customers are convinced of the performance of these high-quality plates, they still argue that the price is too high and do not want to buy.
Creativity to Your Sales Strategy
Feeling puzzled, the regional director of business for the Flint group (Asia), Mr. Roy Schoettle, decided to take steps to better understand their prospects. After extensive communication, they found that:
o The low-end printing market is very competitive and the margins are very low;
o Although many printers are looking for ways to move to better market segments, they lack both technical capacity and even good sales skills to serve the mid and high end of the printing markets.
The Flint Group has therefore decided to address this question of “price objection” at its heart. The management in China has set up means to “hold in hand” their printing customers to:
o Improve their technical skills so that they can manage more sophisticated equipment to print better quality jobs; and
o Improve their sales skills so they know how to position themselves in the mid and high end of the markets. (The Flint group even gave its customers leads to giving them a good head start!)
o Improve their sales skills so they know-how
Of course, the Flint Group does not provide such assistance to all of its potential customers. Usually, they select clients who are ready to help themselves in the first place.
It is not surprising that the Flint group is the market leader in its field and despite constant price objections in its sector. The lessons we can learn here are:
o Take the time to understand your customers’ business models and problems;
o don’t you.