“We lost to a lower price” has to be one of the most frustrating statements heard on a regular basis by a sales manager. I can’t think of many other times that a sales manager can feel as powerless to act, either to save the sale or to solve the problem with the salesperson.
Think about the problem from the buyer’s side. When do you choose based on price? Typically, it is because:
It is exactly the same product, so the best price is the best deal.
You didn’t know how else to choose, so you decided based on price.
You didn’t feel like paying for more was worth the money.
The lower price was so low compared to others that you felt like you had to do it—promising yourself that if it is too good to be true, you will get your money back.
You didn’t have the money for the higher-priced version. You were limited by budget—even if you wanted the higher-priced version, you couldn’t do it.
But as the sales manager or acting sales manager, how do you react to hearing “We lost to a lower price”? Are you scrambling to find a way to sell your product for less? Are you offering discounts or volume discounts to help your salespeople out? Are you getting angry with the competition? Are you doing all of the above, even though the buying decision really had nothing to do with price?
All of this can be prevented by a professional salesperson.
“We lost to a lower price” is about the prospect not seeing the value in buying from your salespeople. The salesperson must create value in the sales process. If you are reacting by lowering price, you are effectively diminishing value, which is the exact opposite effect that you are trying to have.
A strong sales manager will hear the excuse and cut it off. He or she will ask, “Why did your prospect decide we weren’t worth it? What other factors, besides price, were used in the decision making process? If we had lowered our price, would the prospect have given us a guaranteed order?”
If salespeople are coming to you with reports that “we lost to a lower price,” they don’t know those answers anyway, so you might not want to make your day worse by asking.
Decide today whether you want to continue to let your sales people make a lost sale about things that have nothing to do with why the sale was lost, or if you want to improve their effectiveness so that you never have to hear “We lost to a lower price” again.
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