Why so large a cost, having so short a lease, does thou upon your fading mansion spend? -William Shakespeare
Just tell me how much it costs is probably the most dreaded sentence any salesman can hear. Why? Not because of what it's asking, but because of what it's saying.
When a potential customer asks you the cost of the product at the beginning or even the middle of your sales cycle, they're often not trying to gather information, they're trying to get rid of you and usually, it works.
I have been selling a premium product for the past 10-plus years. I'm no stranger to the sentence, "but you guys are too expensive." In fact, I would be shocked if a week went by in the past ten years where I didn't hear it (I need to vacation more).
I recently shadowed a sales representative selling financial software and below is how his conversation with his prospect went:
Salesman: I understand you used to use our software but no longer do
Client: That's right, we found a less expensive option
Salesman: I understand that cost is important to you. You're not alone there. I always ask the clients I'm speaking with what their three biggest challenges are and normally the response is 1. cost/productivity 2. talent retention and 3. risk mitigation. Would you agree?
Client: Yes, especially number two. It's hard to get young talent to stay.
Salesman: What I've noticed is that firms are paying larger salaries, offering flexible work schedules and even signing bonuses to attract and keep talent. Are you doing these things?
Client: To an extent yes.
Salesman: But what we've found is that most firms are missing a critical component. Millennials expect a firm to have the most recent and up do date technology available. This generation has grown up so entrenched with technology that they don't just expect it, but in the absence of it, they're actually uncomfortable. Would you agree?
Client: Sure, but how much does the most "up to date software" cost me?
Salesman: Without gathering some more information, I'm not entirely sure which package would work for you, so I really can't say.
Client: Just tell me, ballpark how much?
Salesman: It's somewhere between free and a kings ransom. To be candid, at this point cost really wouldn't matter because you have no idea what the software is capable of. You don't yet know that it could save you over 300 billable hours a year, allow your customers to access their key financial data anytime, anywhere. Allow the most talented young financial advisors the ability to work remotely from anywhere at anytime. You wouldn't know about any of that yet, so what would the cost even mean?
Before we get in to cost let me ask you one question, "is there a cost to NOT knowing what the most current software is capable of?"
Client: Yes, I'm sure there is but I can only spend so much..
Salesman: I have found that there are two types of entrepreneurs I deal with: 1. those that make decisions based on how much money they can save or 2. those that make decisions based on how much money they can make. Which one are you?
Client: Well, obviously I want to make money
Salesman: I want you to make more money too. Let's set up a demo of the product, take a look at it's capabilities and see if it's a good fit. I'm confident that you'll find it to be extremely valuable.
What did he do well? What could he have done better? I have some thoughts on this for sure. I was impressed by some things and there are things I think he could have improved upon. I'll weigh in in the comment section if anyone wants to discuss.
Happy selling out there!