For the SMB, “How do I sell my stuff now that pricing has increased?” is a classic question, if not a timeless one. In the post-COVID era, rising costs across the board for everyone is the new reality.
First off, we’re all in the same boat when it comes to cost increases so broaching the subject with your prospect should not be a surprise. But in selling, it all comes back to value balanced against “costs.”
Here are some ideas to help you sell higher price.
Acknowledge the issue – internally.
Your prospect is experiencing higher rates everywhere, so you don’t need to mention supply chain issues or rising fuel expenses as it applies to their specific solution. I’m not suggesting you ignore the realities of the economic challenges; rather, it is safe to assume your prospect already knows about rising expenses, so don’t be intimidated about talking about the stressful concepts around money.
Value is nothing without relevance.
We’ve been here before; you’ve been taught to sell the value of working with you in addition to the great things your machines can do. The best way to balance against rising costs is to double down on value delivered. Unfortunately, what is valuable to you (like hitting your quota this month) is not value for your prospect (like completing tasks quickly and accurately).
My recommendation is nothing new. It is only applying greater attention to one of the first stages of the selling cycle – qualification. Good qualification leads to you being more relevant.
There are two sides to the qualification equation:
- Does your prospect fit your solution?
- Do you deserve the right to propose a solution?
At the base level, does your prospect have a need, the will to change and the money to accomplish the task? No matter how we dress it up, this has always been the goal of qualifying.
Let’s put a point on this. Now more than ever, you owe it to yourself and your customers to dig deep and find REAL reasons for them to do business with you. You must look at business from the prospect’s viewpoint. You must empathize with their position. You can do this by examining what is going on in your dealership.
Your prospects are more than likely experiencing the same challenges your dealership is: rising energy rates, supply chain issues, and finding good employees. Look at your solutions and how you might be able to help with one or more of the problems.
Rising energy costs
Look to the services niche like HVAC, plumbing, etc. Is there a way you can help them be more efficient in dispatch? How is your dealership dealing with higher gas bills and service calls? Are you implementing new processes, or utilizing software? Can you help your prospects do the same things you’re doing?
This is a discussion point on a business level that can turn into a software and hardware solution – but it starts by dealing with common business problems.
There is no easy answer with supply chain. It is even more diabolical that once the supply chain frees up, demand might be in the toilet because of the recession. Trying times. In our industry, the best approach between manufacturers and dealers has been open and transparent communications.
There are many ways to communicate with customers, and as counterintuitive as this might sound, a newsletter is a great vehicle. More surprising, a printed, color newsletter sent in the mail, is experiencing a bump in interest. Could you embed this idea in your presentation? Is there a way to translate a newsletter into customer retention and an enhanced user experience? Yes, there is.
Again, finding good talent is a universal challenge. What is your dealership doing to attract good people? Are you holding open houses? Putting together packets for candidates and new employee welcome kits? How about online PDF forms? Take what you’re doing and talk about this with your prospects. Tie in the use of your devices with the ability to attract good people.
Do you want to really stand out? Sponsor a “Recruiter Day” at your dealership – invite customers and prospects to set up a table and recruit. Sounds crazy — or does it? Imagine companies in your demo room, right next to a great new device. Or maybe in the conference room with your large screen and remote capabilities.
The depth of conversations you will have with business owners when addressing the thorny issue is invaluable, opening discussions and opportunities beyond the box.
I’ve mentioned this many times – your importance is enhanced whenever you solve business problems instead of selling the cheapest device with the lowest cost per image. In a way, selling today should be a bit easier because there are business challenges everywhere, all revolving around rising expenses. Tie this in with the seismic shift in working models like hybrid and remote work and there is clearly a large field of opportunity for your solutions and expertise.
Good qualification is not a stage, it is a continuous process throughout your relationship with customers. Right now, talking about hiring good talent, managing through the supply chain challenges, and dealing with rising energy charges are three very relevant issues you can help your clients address.
Do this, and pricing as an objection melts away.
Cement your relationship by solving business problems and enhance your personal brand by displaying your succinct expertise.
is an entrepreneur and founder of the notorious destination site TheDeathOfTheCopier, where he comments on all things imaging, the rise of managed services and the advance of business technology. A prolific writer and frequent speaker, Greg shares his passionate, unique – and often provocative – view of technology and people, addressing the impact of digital on 21st century business. His 2014 book, Death Of The Copier, offers a controversial summary of the early days of Managed Print Services and the not-so-distant future of the hard copy industry. Reach out to Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.