Impact Pricing Blog

What “Pricing” Can Teach Sales

I’m a failed salesperson.  Early in my career, I shifted from engineering to technical sales, and I was horrible. (Do you know how to identify an extroverted engineer?  He’s the one looking at the other guy’s shoes.)  My sales technique consisted of telling a potential customer about my product, listing the features, and closely watching their eyes to see if there was a glimmer of interest.  Are you shocked that I wasn’t successful? 

To escape sales, I went back to school for an MBA and kept going to earn a Ph.D.  I focused on marketing since it was kind of like sales without having to talk to people (not true).  During my doctoral program, I undertook a research project on how price-endings work and became hooked on understanding how people use prices when making purchase decisions.  

The next thirty years I spent in or around pricing.  Looking back to when I was in sales, I deeply wish I had known then what I know now.  Recall my technique of “show up and throw up” (talking about my product).  Sadly, most companies do something very similar.  Take a look at your website.  I’ll bet it lists your features.  It talks about your products.  And your salespeople, although probably much better than I was, could be much more effective.  

The most important lesson I learned in thirty years of pricing is that people buy VALUE.  Yes, different people perceive value differently.  But that’s a nuance.  Start with the average.  In B2B, you can define value as how much additional profit your customer will make using your product or service.  Imagine a sales and marketing team that helps their buyers figure out how much more profit they will make.  They are much more likely to win the deal. Buyers will love them, not just for the product but for the help in communicating the value internally to their own company. If only I knew this as a salesperson. 

It’s not that hard to focus on value.  You have to learn to have value conversations with your customers.  Initially, it may feel odd, but once you see buyers being grateful, you will enjoy having them more often.  

In my book, Selling Value: How to Win More Deals at Higher Prices, you can learn more about value conversations.  Or, reach out to me to discuss other programs.  You really should focus more on selling value.  You will definitely win more deals at higher prices.  

Now, go make an impact!

Tags: pricing, sales, value

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