Streetfighter Selling

for Sales Professionals

  • Mar
    22

    Years ago, I made a sales call on a fast food franchisor…decked out in full uniform, from the shirts their counter people wore to their little hat and name tag. There were more than a few moments where I thought I’d get ridiculed for looking stupid. Instead, the client was impressed! The buyer said I was the only one who looked ready to go to work for them…and the sale was made on the spot. (Thanks, Glenda, for making me do it.)

    “Don’t Be Afraid to Innovate; Be Different.” That’s one of the Ten Secrets to Success, a feature of Investors Business Daily, touting their best strategies for succeeding in business and life. “Following the herd,” they say, “is a sure way to mediocrity.” Very true. If you want to blend in with the pack, just do what they do. A lot of times, buyers have a hard time telling one ‘vendor’ from another because they all say the same things (“we can save you money” or “we’re the best at…..”). In today’s high-stress business arena, sales superstars stand out and get noticed. Years ago, I made a sales call on a fast food franchisor…decked out in full uniform, from the shirts their counter people wore to their little hat and name tag. There were more than a few moments where I thought I’d get ridiculed for looking stupid. Instead, the client was impressed! The buyer said I was the only one who looked ready to go to work for them…and the sale was made on the spot.

    You don’t have to act the fool to get noticed, but you should look for ways to break away from the pack. It might be with content-driven voice mail messages or creative mailings that stand out and say “this is unique!” I know of salespeople who deliberately use props in their presentations.

    Be professional always, but standing out and getting noticed is a sure-fire way to boost sales, and make it a lot more interesting.

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  • Mar
    13

    “That ‘selling value’ stuff is really out the window, isn’t it?”
    I got that assessment from a salesrep recently.
    Tough times. Heavy price-point competition. Yea.
    It’s all about price right now.

    Is it?

    No doubt, we’re facing turbulent times and most buyers will say that ‘price’ is number one on their agenda. I know what’s happening out there. And I know that buyers, when they’re actually buying, are being super price sensitive.

    I’m not going to blow smoke at you and pretend it doesn’t matter. It does. But it is not…IS NOT…the top criteria and should not be treated as such.

    Take a look:

    The lowest price is still not winning the sales war. A Time magazine report this month says “it’s not cost…it’s cost-efficiency.” Business practices like buying cheap can tie up desperately-needed cash in large inventories, cheaper products or unreliable delivery schedules. Manufacturers want smaller, just-in-time inventories. Consumers want shorter commitments and more flexibility (i.e. their cell phone plans).

    In a separate study, BrainNet Supply Management Group talked with 155 purchasing managers, finding that “strategies based solely on cost considerations are becoming less prominent.” (That’s LESS in a time when we’re telling ourselves that price is everything!) Savvy companies are taking advantage of the economic downturn and making partnerships with suppliers who can help them maximize the big-picture value of their operations. It’s up to us to look hard, ask questions and find those value propositions.

    Still, there are those situations where the answer is price, and only price. Just don’t accept it as fact too quickly.

    Every time you play the price war, remember that the winner also loses. The sale, itself might be unprofitable. And having a low-price image is hard to come back from when the market recovers.

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  • Mar
    12

    Low price doesn’t always win the sale. But go ahead and ask your customer their most important criteria and they’ll often say “price, of course.” They’re not lying. But they haven’t been sold yet, either.

    When it comes to price sensitivity, consumers come in three clusters. The first
    is the low-price cluster. Some estimate this group to be about 15% of all consumers, business and consumer. They may have a directive to be frugal with the company budget, may have less means financially, or just a deep-rooted desire to get the most in any bargain, even if it results in a win-lose scenario.

    Another, although smaller cluster, will always pay the higher price. They may want the best quality, and know that you get what you pay for. They may want the prestige that goes with owning the best. Either way, price, alone, is seldom an issue.

    The third cluster, estimated to be nearly 75% of all buyers, live in between the low and high-end. They’re waiting to be sold. They want quality, they want service, and they want a good value. But, if there’s no clear distinction among their options, then the default buying decision becomes ‘price.’

    To avoid becoming compared to others based on price alone, find their definition of value. Ask questions that will uncover their most important buying criteria. Sometimes, a basic question like “aside from price, what will be your most important criteria?” helps you find the way to differentiate yourself from your competition.

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