May 17, 2021 • Podcast

How do I change the way price shoppers think?

On this episode, Paul presents a couple of ideas on changing a price shopper’s mind.

Show Notes 

Influence your customer’s mind little by little.

Small wins lead to big change. Change doesn’t happen all at once.

“If you want to be successful, you have to do what your competition isn’t willing to do.”

In what other areas has your buyer made a value-focused decision? Draw a parallel.

 

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How do I change the way price shoppers think?

(Transcribed from podcast)

On today’s show, I have a question that came from a live audience. That’s right, a live audience. I was actually doing some live training earlier this week, and one of the salespeople had a great question. They were talking about one of their customers and they’re talking about the procurement department. And the salesperson said, “Look, I’ve got this one procurement guy and all he does is he talks about price. It’s price, price, price, price, price. Everything is about price.” He wants to know, “How do I change a price shopper’s mind to focus more on value?” So that’s the question we’re going to answer in today’s show. I’m going to give you two tips on how you can do that.

Before we get into answering that question, quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. Andrea does a wonderful job for us. Man, she really helps support us. She helps the podcast grow. It’s now been downloaded in over 70 countries and it continues to grow. Every week, we’re able to answer questions for salespeople, and a lot of the reason why is because of Andrea and her team over at The Creative Impostor Studios. So if you’re thinking of starting a podcast or you have a podcast already and you need some help, reach out to Andrea and her team. We’re going to have a link over to her website on this episode’s webpage.

Also pick up your latest copy of Value-Added Selling. We’re now in the fourth edition of the book. And it’s interesting. The very first edition of Value-Added Selling was created really because of this person’s question on today’s show, “How do I sell value?” “How do I get past price?” These are the questions that really sparked the Value-Added Selling revolution. So pick up your copy. It’s your go-to guide on how to proactively take control of that conversation and guide it down a path of value and not price.

All right, let’s get back to that question: How do I change a price shoppers mind? When you think about it, it can be tough. Especially some of those procurement-type people. They believe their sole purpose in this world is to beat up salespeople on their discounting, pricing, all that stuff. So they’re pretty set in their ways. And they might always be looking for the cheapest solution. Maybe that’s how they think they should buy. Maybe they think that’s how they create value for their organization. Either way, it’s tough out there. Especially if you’re selling in a commoditized type of industry. This group that I was working with, yeah, they’re selling in a tough market that is heavily commoditized.

So yeah, you’re going to face price resistance. And a lot of the reason why is because buyers look at two different products and they think, “Okay, these two products are pretty much the same,” or maybe, “they’re the exact same.” They want to know, “Why should I pay more?” Why should they pay more If the product and service are very similar. So we’re going to get into that question today: How do I change that price shoppers mind?

We have to do two things. We have to use small wins and we have to look for parallels. So that’s the two tips we’re going to focus on today. When we talk about small wins, remember that when people are trying to change the way they think, or better yet, when we’re trying to change the way another person thinks—when we’re trying to influence them—we’re better off influencing them little by little. For example, if you’re thinking about a price-shopping buyer, think about a customer that you work with that focuses quite a bit on price. Also, I want you to imagine trying to change their mind in one meeting. In one meeting, one sales appointment, do you really think you’re going to be able to convert that price-shopping customer over to a value-focused buyer? Probably not. That’s too big of a gap to try to bridge. And instead, what we’ve got to do is we have to change their mind little by little. That’s what we need to do. We need to use the small-wins approach to initiate small change—small change that will eventually lead to them making that ultimate conversion over to a value-focused buyer.

So there’s a great white paper in American Psychologist. It’s by a guy named Karl Weick. He wrote “Small Wins,” and he describes a small win as a “concrete outcome of moderate importance.” By itself, one small win doesn’t mean all that much, but when you combine a bunch of small wins, it leads to big change. That’s what a small win is. Taking this idea and applying it to a price shopper means we have to look for little things, little changes, that we can implement. Little ways that we can influence the buyer’s mind that will eventually lead to a big change.

When I say small win, I mean, here’s how small I’m talking about. This one salesperson in the training seminar, they mentioned that sometimes it’s hard to even meet face to face with this procurement buyer. “They won’t even meet with me face to face.” Well, there’s our first small win. Our first small win is just to fight like crazy to get that very first face-to-face meeting. That’s our first small win. And let’s say the second small win—let’s just have a conversation about their broader needs. What’s really important to them. How they define value. That’s the next small win. We’re just asking them questions. We’re trying to get a deeper understanding of what’s important to them. And again, at this point, they’re not converted from a price shopper to a value-focused buyer. No, but we’re walking them along that path.

So once we have a conversation about their needs, maybe the next thing to do is demonstrate one of our products or services for them. You know, just doing a product demo, being able to showcase how our product can impact their business—the ways it can help them achieve greater profit or achieve greater productivity, whatever it is, we’re still not going to convert them, but we’re moving along that path.

You see, we’re building on these small wins, and these small wins start to generate momentum. Maybe our, our next small win is to meet with other decision makers within this opportunity. Get to know some of the other decision makers that can help sell the solution for you, that can be your internal champion. Getting to know these additional decision makers will help you as you try to apply pressure, as you try to sell your value-added solution.

And then also, we want to stretch that buyer’s time horizon. We’ve talked about this on previous shows. Let’s say the next small win—. Again, at this point, we’ve got a meeting.

We started talking about their needs. We’re meeting with other decision-makers. Now we’re going to have a long-term conversation about what’s important to them. We’re getting the buyer to think long term. The reason we do that is because it helps take the focus off of price. And then we enlarge the conversation, and we say, “Okay, what is important to you beyond just product. Beyond the product or the service that we’re selling, what is important to you?” And if the buyer says, “Well, price is going to be important to me,” we can say, “Okay. Well, putting price aside for just a few moments, what else is important to you?” Take price off the table for a moment. And now you’re getting that buyer to think. They’re starting to think differently.

And then finally, you know, we start talking about total cost of ownership versus just price. Talking about total cost, the total impact of the solution, how you can help them save money in the long term. That’s probably like five or six or seven small wins. Just achieving one of those small wins isn’t going to mean all that much, but when you combine all of them, it’s going to lead to a slow and subtle change. It’s going to help make price less of an issue.

Most salespeople don’t have the patience to go through this. That’s why they continue to rely on discounting. If you want to be successful, you have to do what your competition isn’t willing to do. Focus on achieving those small wins.

Another thing we can do is we can look for parallels—find parallels. And you can call this using an analogy, a metaphor, whatever you want to do. We call it finding parallels. Look for other ways, your buyer (the procurement buyer) is making a value-focused decision. Look at other decisions that they’ve made within that facility, whether it’s a manufacturing plan, an office building, a hospital, whatever it may be. Look at other areas of the facility where they have made a value-focused decision. And what we mean by that is they’ve chosen to purchase value, not price. Where they have focused on outcomes, not what they need to sacrifice to get those outcomes. If you can highlight purchasing examples where they have made a decision based on value and not price, you can draw a parallel to your solution.

You can say, “Look, you’ve invested in this equipment over here. This is a premium equipment in the industry. It helps produce productivity. It would only make sense to apply that same logic to other purchasing decisions that are critical to your business. Think about it. If you’re selling equipment that processes raw material, it’s critical that the quality of that raw material matches the quality of the equipment that’s processing it.” You can draw a parallel. And that is if you’re selling raw material inputs.

Either way, what we’re going for here is just look for other areas where they’ve already made a value-based decision. And by doing that, it’s going to draw a parallel. It’s going to show a connection. We like to make decisions based on precedent, so you’re showing them how the decision you’re asking them to make is consistent with the decision that they already made in the past. And by making that connection, it’s going to be easier for them to change their mind.

All right. So, that’s just a couple of tips on how you change a price shopper’s mind. Just a quick reminder before we call it an episode, make sure you visit TheQandASalesPodcast.com. While you’re there, you can ask me a question, I will turn it into a future show. No question is too small or too niche, I guarantee you we’re going to answer it and we’ll make you rich. How about that? How about that rhyme to close things out? Are you kidding me? Wow. Man that’s-that’s solid gold.

Make it a big, day.

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