by Ken Wax, Sales Gravy Featured Blogger
There’s always someone cheaper out there. The question is, what do you do about it?
Let’s make it even tougher. What if they’re providing something that seems identical to what you’re selling?
Here’s an example of what I mean, from a business that’s probably even more competitive than yours.
It happened at the end of a speech I was giving in Lake Tahoe. It was a meeting of about 120 franchise owners. They were in a low-tech part of the high tech business: renting PCs to companies. It happens to be a surprisingly big business, catering to the shifting or seasonal needs and accounting rules of corporations.
At the end, one person stood and asked:
“What do you think we should be doing when local companies undercut our prices?”
The murmur that followed told me this was not a trivial problem for them. I asked,
“What do you do now when that happens?”
“We match their price.”
We discussed it a while, then I shook up the room. Keep in mind, this price cutting was costing them every day. Plus it made them feel helpless.
“What would happen if, instead, you said to that customer,
“Look, in this business, there are no secrets. We all pay the same for PCs, and the trucks we need to deliver them cost the same to run. Every company has to pay for support people who get those PCs running and fix any problems that may arise.
“There’s only one way a company can offer you a substantially lower price – something has to give. Corners must be cut – there’s simply no other way.
“It might be the staffing of the support team. Or by having a longer response time to replace a problem machine because they have fewer trucks, drivers, or backup machines.
“You have to ask yourself, ‘What am I using these PCs for?’ ‘How much am I paying in salaries to the people who are using them? ‘ What’s the impact on our business when that happens?’
“That’s why we have so many companies counting on us. They aren’t just looking at the price of the machine, but the value of knowing your team will have the functioning equipment you’re counting on them to have for your business.”
There was silence for a second, then applause burst out.
Business owners are a tough bunch; the handshakes after the talk meant a lot. Even weeks after, I was still receiving notes about how this had changed everything.
Ken Wax is an author, speaker, and adviser on selling to companies ranging from IBM and Monster to mid-size companies and start-ups.
He has led sales teams at start-ups and also at industry giants, and has interviewed, hired and developed hundreds of salespeople in his career. Three of Ken’s companies have been acquired; one has gone public.
He has been the keynote speaker at dozens of conferences on five continents, and has written over 120 magazine articles published around the world. Ken’s 2011 book, ‘The Technology Salesperson’s Handbook’, is on Amazon and Ken is currently working on two new books on selling. He teaches seminars and workshops for clients; they’re specific to that company’s challenges with immediately-useful approaches and techniques.
Ken brings many of his most popular teachings to Sales Gravy; you can learn more about him at www.kenwax.comor by searching his name on LinkedIn or Amazon.