What does TOO EXPENSIVE really mean?

I dramatically increase business for companies whose sales are stuck

I dramatically increase business for companies whose sales are stuck

Hello to all new subscribers.  Welcome.  Please feel free to comment or re-post this blog to your own if you think your readers will find this helpful!

I have written a lot about value and I have gotten plenty of messages this week reminding me of what value really means.

I have said many times that value is not always about money.  To me when someone says “oh no, that’s just way too expensive”, it rarely means they don’t have enough money to pay for it.  It usually means they have not yet found the VALUE to them.

Just think about how many people have figured out how to pay for those very expensive flat screen televisions or the lines that formed in 2009 (the height of the bad economy) for Ipads.  Do you really think ALL those people thought “we can’t afford this?”  Of course not. And why do you think that is?  Because the companies knew that they had already uncovered (through very good marketing and research) that people would feel they NEEDED all of these devices! dollar Bill copy

Another example I always use is Starbucks.  Now the same cup of coffee can be bought at Dunkin Doughnuts or McDonalds for a little over a dollar.  But many (and I mean $4.2 billion dollars many)still choose Starbucks.  And those that choose Starbucks are not considering the value of that  $4.00 cup of coffee when they reach into their wallets, do they? It’s of value to them.  Starbucks created that value not with coffee but with the experience that people crave.  That’s REALLY why people pay more.

Now, not everyone is going to understand the value of what you offer; just as their are some that think Starbucks is way overpriced and get their coffee elsewhere.  But that is not a Starbucks customer.

The object of selling services or product is not trying to appeal to everyone, but to find and appeal to the few that will find value in what you offer. The best first step is to thoroughly qualify clients.  Not to just jump into your presentation.  Ask questions..lots of them.  They will not only use “the too expensive” excuse, they will find what you offer a bargain.

Last week I was training a sales representative for one of my clients.  The product was leather.  I spoke with the rep and asked that she qualify the account before she took me there.  Find out if showing them leather would be of value to them.

1.  Do they use leather?

2. How often?

3. Do they have current projects where they may be using leather right now?

Just this first step determines the value of what you are going to show them and how viable an account they will be.  Then the sales process (not presenting!) begins!  And guess what?  Price becomes less important.

This works with any service or product because the focus then becomes solving current needs, not product or service.  If you focus on that, you throw yourself into the black hole of competition!  Then price DOES become the focus!

 

If you do not uncover needs, you have no value to your clients..and less business!

I dramatically increase business for companies whose sales are stuck

I dramatically increase business for companies whose sales are stuck

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Today I got yet another email from a sales person trying to sell….well it doesn’t matter, you can fill in the blank, but this happened to be some kind of software.  To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what it does, let alone what it can do for me!  And that is totally the fault of the sales person. This email came after many others AND a call!  But this sales person made deadly sins of sales not understanding MY needs and how he can help me.

It started out with an email.  I just ignored it and another came, and another and another. I think they got my information from a webinar I signed up for.  This “tactic” is very common now!   So if a webinar seems pertinent to your business, you willingly give your information.

After about 6- 8 emails week after week, i knew if I just kept ignoring them they would continue. (I know I could have reported it as spam, but my nice side came out) All of the emails went through the old tactic of “I know you are really busy, but I just want to take a few of your minutes”.  That is about as effective as….well you know!

Then…he called!

And I thought..I should just check out what this is all about.  Maybe this could be helpful to my woman blocking noisebusiness. But he would never know that because he just jumped into his sales presentation. Never asking me one single question except how large my company was.  No more uncovering needs…so I really just checked out because he was giving me information that was not helpful to me at this time.  That’s what YOUR clients do if you show them anything that is not relevant to them.

And before you think that’s not you..it was me before I had to figure out a better way to sell and how I now train. And I have observed this more than I want to even think about.  It’s really how we sell.

I’ve heard, we have the best customer service;(yeah, who doesn’t?) our product exceeds standards of the industry (do I need that?); these colors are very fashion forward (says who and how does that help me?); our design firm offers full service for every client (that’s exactly what the other design firms said!); and other benefits that will be amazing for them.   Any of these sound familiar?

These are all benefits, but who do they benefit and how many times has the client heard that. Right into the black vortex of product or services.  Then competition takes over but you’re all on an even playing field instead of pulling apart from them by knowing how you can HELP that particular client.  Then, many times, it boils down to price wars.  And if there is no value, who do you think that person will buy from more often?

If you don’t find how you can fill a need every single time which  becomes  a value..value will always be defined by price.

At the end of the call, I said I really did not understand the product and said I don’t think I’d be interested. He did not say anything that made me feel like he really cared about what I needed to know to further the sales process. He only  asked if he could email a follow-up.  I said not really…

Flash forward one week..there he was again! “…I know you are so busy, but I am following up and would like to take just a few minutes of your time…” So miss nice girl, turned into miss annoyed and emailed a pretty stern email demanding I be taken off the list and for him not to call or try to get a hold of me in any way.  If he does, I will report it as spam!

So not only did he NOT get a sale, he LOST business!

I know this might seem extreme, but I have observed this over and over again in different incarnations..it does happen all the time.  Results are inconsistent or flat business.

What is the gigantic lesson?  Uncover your clients needs before you even take one single sample or portfolio out.  Then and only then will you prove your value!  And people will always buy if they find value.  Otherwise you turn into just another sales person!

 

How many business lessons we can learn from the Olympics?

Sales & Management Training and Business Development for the Interior Design Industry

Sales & Management Training and Business Development for the Interior Design Industry

Of course, as always, welcome to my new subscribers.  Please join my Facebook page for exclusive information on sales and business development for the Interior Design Industry.

I don’t know about you, but I just love the Olympics.  I just revere the elite athletes  and sit in wonderment of their tenacity, perseverance and, of course, abilities.  It makes me think about my business and how when times are really tough I have thoughts of just giving up! (of course I never would..but thoughts are sometimes there)

So many back stories are told about people (usually very young!) who overcome great obstacles to live out their dreams.  I have heard stories of athletes going door to door doing any projects to earn money.  Or fathers of an athlete dying not only too young, but six months before the Olympics and they ski down the hill with their father’s picture tucked away in their shirt.

But the lesson that just stood out for me was that of an American skater, Jeremy Abbott. He’s a wonderful skater and I have watched him skate for many years. He was doing one of those crazy quad jumps and not only fell on his hip, but slammed into the boards.  He laid there for what seemed an eternity. And after initial silence, the audience started to applaud and encourage this skater to get up and finish his program.  And he did.  He got up and just got right back into the program and finished to loud, thunderous applause by everyone!  And he scored very high putting him into third place.  That’s Olympics at its best!

I am sure you can guess the lesson..get up when you fall.  Yes, that’s it.  But what made this even more special was during a short interview with Jeremy, after the skate.  It’s what he said.  Yes, he said you need to get up after a fall, but more importantly he said, even if he does not win the Olympics, he hopes he can teach people that lesson and that would be worth the whole experience.

So you see, getting up after a fall is very important but having it be a teaching moment, as they say, priceless!

Here’s how you can make more money in the Interior Design Industry?

I am a resource that understands what it takes to be successful in a creative world.

I am a resource that understands what it takes to be successful in a creative world.

Hello everyone!  Happy New Year!  I declare 2014 to be the best year for business in a very long time. (Lofty of me, huh?)  So don’t you want  “get your piece of that!”  I think I know how.  It’s to leave your ego and old techniques at the door next time you are in front of a client because it’s NOT about you AT ALL!  This is relevant for interior designers, salespeople, showroom owners, everyone!

To make more money…make everything about the client and give them the value they are looking for.   Your ears are the most important tool in building business and making more money not your talent or product..sorry.  There are more product lines out there than anyone can imagine and you need to stay above the fray.  How?  By asking the right questions and then ssshh… listen!  Find out what their needs are (that’s the pain).

But it doesn’t stop there.  You also have to ask what they need for a near perfect outcome. That’s their objective.  What tests does a fabric need to meet (but NOT until you know if they will use that..not on every fabric you show), what is the budget (oooo..hard to ask, huh? – That was always MY achilles heel!  I was afraid to ask budget.  I didn’t want to know that I could fewer times meet their needs than I, achemm, wanted.)  I’d rather run around with a slight chance.  Made me feel busy! I know..doesn’t make sense but it did to me at that time!  It felt important to be running around to the big design firms..I loved it!

It’s the gap between what a client’s needs are and what would make a perfect outcome.  It’s THAT gap that you need to know and with that you can fill that gap and become the VALUE that person is looking for.  It’s not about price, it’s about VALUE.

The only way to find out that information is to ASK…ASK…ASK and then listen!  Then fit the product/service to fill that gap and meet their needs.  Most salespeople that I have worked with do just the opposite; show product, pray for the need.  And maybe do some running around..I know I’ve been there!

I always use Howard Schultz’s Starbucks coffee as a perfect example of meeting needs of people, giving them what they want and perfecting that.  I saw an interview with him a few weeks ago and that’s exactly what he said.  Here’s a quote from his new book, “Onward”.

“Starbucks has always been about so much more than coffee (sic)”

Now if Howard Schultz knows it’s not about the product/service, do you need more proof?

Please join my Facebook community!  And take a look at my sales training and get a complimentary eBook “Four Steps to Client Security!  Would love your comments!

 

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

I am not posting this for you to actually read, but I did want to thank all my readers and to wish all of you a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Does price really matter when it comes to buying your product or service?

I am a resource that understands what it takes to be successful in a creative world.

I am a resource that understands what it takes to be successful in a creative world.

Hello to all!  And welcome to new subscribers. So glad you joined our great community.  Please feel free to join my Facebook page, too!  More inspiration..and some fun, too!

Well the holiday season is in full swing.  Shopping is the sport of the month!  Entertaining, gifts..’tis the season!  So what came to mind as I was doing almost all my shopping with my fingers, eyes and keyboard is a very interesting thought for selling product or services.  That is, if the perceived value is there, people will pay more!

When I am doing sales training or giving my keynote speech at an event, I have a whole section that addresses this.  I bring up the $800.00 Ipad that sold over three million units in the first 80 days.  But wait..that was in 2010..the height of the recession. I also talk about how we rush to pay four dollars for coffee that is no better (some think worse) than the coffee you get at McDonald’s.

But do we pay?   ..yes we do.  That is why Starbucks is an EIGHT BILLION dollar company..selling coffee?  I don’t think so!  It’s the perceived value they bring! And it has nothing to do with the coffee.

And as I was perusing Amazon for some of my gifts I wanted a book for myself.  There was an opportunity to purchase a book from one seller that was charging $5.00 and one who was charging $12.00.  The difference was not the condition or the shipping.  That was identical.  The difference, for me, (MY value) was the $5.00 vendor only had a three star rating while the $12.00 one had a five-star rating.

Now I sat there and contemplated…do I want to risk saving a few dollars and possibly getting the book in bad condition or worse yet not getting it and spending who knows how many hours trying to follow-up (just to find Amazon’s contact information takes an hour!).  Or did I want to pay more and worry less and have a much better chance of it going smoothly and I would not have ONE thing to do except enjoy the book?

What do YOU think?  Even though we are all watching what we spend today, ease = value!  So value is not always defined by how much it costs.

I hear sales people all the time telling me they cannot sell this product or that product because everyone is “on a budget”.  I understand that, I do!  But if you can show the value of what you are selling, trust me, just like I spent more to get that book, people will pay more if they see the value!

Please feel free to comment..I love feedback!  And have a wonderful, warm, cozy holiday season!

Staying connected is necessary to selling more.

I am a resource that understands what it takes to be successful in a creative world.

I am a resource that understands what it takes to be successful in a creative world.

Hello to all new subscribers!  I am always so grateful every time I see new people have seen the content I feel so passionately about  join in!  Also, please feel free to join my Facebook page.  Lots of inspiration and tips for the design industry!

We are in a world of techno-craziness!  Oh don’t get me wrong, I am all about technology.  I would die without my smart phone..what did I ever do before?  And I love my computer, email, social media… all of it.

Having said that, it always saddens me that where ever you go, the local coffee spot, a restaurant, a park or even walking down a street, people are constantly looking down at some device and just thumbing away.  It saddens me because I am a very social person who really enjoys the art of the conversation.  And I really enjoy connecting with people.  Looking them in the eye and smiling.  Makes me just feel connected.

After a couple of days of working on my own..I NEED to go somewhere to get revived with social interaction..usually in the form of a coffee place!  My thought is that we ALL need some of that.

Then I was reading an article by Barbara Frederickson who is a professor of physiology at University of North Carolina and writes about the connection technology has on our well being. You can read the article (in fact you should) but to sum it up, they have found there is a real connection (pardon the pun) between all this involvement with technology and your health and well being.  It’s actually spelled out in scientific facts in this article.

So what does this have to do with business?

Well, as busy as everyone is and the more technology takes over our lives, there is still a strong need for connection;in person…face to face connection!  Nothing, not even web cams can replace seeing a person face to face.  Humans need that! Even in my own practice, I find that when I meet with someone in person, I get better results.

So now we know, in person meetings will get your farther than any technology we currently have or will ever have (at least for the near future). You get a deeper understanding of what they are like, what they need and a real personal connection. We need to connect more in our marketing efforts.

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