The Commodity Copout and Overcoming Price Objections
I once heard a salesperson explain that sales were challenging in his industry because his products were commodities. He sold forklifts.
I heard a sales manager say the same thing about the products she was selling: radiographic imaging systems.
And I once heard a marketing director for advanced commercial lighting systems fret over the “commoditization” of his markets.
Really? Wheat is a commodity. Forklifts, x-ray machines and lighting controls are anything but.
Of course, these professionals knew all the fine points of differentiation that separated their products from the pack. They didn’t really think their products were commodities. What they were saying was that customers were trying to commoditize their products.
It happens all the time. “It’s all the same to me,” customers say. “It’s basically a question of price.”
The best salespeople don’t engage in that debate. They simply call the buyer’s bluff. They’ll look the prospect in the eye and say, “If price is really all that matters, you should go with Brand X. They’re a lot cheaper than us.”
And almost always, the buyer will respond with a “yes-but.” As in: “Yes, but their customer service is terrible.” Or, “Yes, but we really want to do business with you.” Or, “Yes, but I have concerns about their quality.” In the end, it’s always about value.
The next time a buyer says the only thing that matters is price, do everyone a favor and tell him exactly where he can go to get the lowest price. Then ask what he’s willing to give up in order to get that price.
photo credit: KevinLallier
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