One recurring theme that keeps coming up in our Same Side Selling Academy’s Coach’s Corner each month is why B2B clients focus on price so much.
Maybe you have a client where all they seem to care about is price. Let’s talk about why that happens. There are three distinct reasons that lead our clients or prospects (especially in the B2B space) to focus on price.
Who Usually Introduces Price as the Focus?
The first key reason why your B2B clients are often focused on price may sound a little disturbing because it probably doesn’t happen intentionally. Many sellers often are the ones who bring up price. As a result, your clients then talk about it.
Maybe you’re thinking to yourself: ‘Well, I don’t think I’m bringing it up or focusing on price too much.’
What I want you to consider is that very often, when your client or prospect has an existing vendor, it’s common for the salesperson to reach out to them with questions in an effort to get them to switch.
When they reach out to them, they often inquire about who they’re working with. The seller thinks about why someone might switch vendors, and naturally asks, “How much are you paying today?” Let’s say you’re the salesperson inquiring information from a prospect. You lead a conversation by asking them about the price they’re currently paying. Inadvertently, what you’ve just done is now convinced that the person that the most important thing is price. It’s the first thing you focused on in the conversation, right? So why should the client believe otherwise?
They were probably doing just perfectly fine. Then you reached out and immediately you’re thinking the only reason they would possibly switch from who they’re using now to someone else is if we’re less expensive. Because we started the conversation talking about price, it’s perfectly natural for the customer to focus on price. So this is something to be very conscious of. It’s often something that in most cases, the seller doesn’t even realize that you’re doing it.
Even if you or a rep starts comparing pricing and asking how you can save them some money, you’re convincing the client that it’s all about price.
What to Watch Out For
But it isn’t all about price. In fact, most of the time when we buy things, it’s not because of price. This is especially true when we’re changing from one vendor to another. It’s rarely about the price. We need to make sure that we’re not the ones who are starting that whole price conversation with them.
You Get Stuck on Price vs. Results
When doing B2B sales, it’s also common to center your entire discussion around price instead of focusing on value and results. Maybe after a client asks about price you might carry on a whole conversation about it.
Of course, every client would love to pay less for the same thing. Still, we want to make sure that when we’re having this dialogue with them, that we’re not focused just on price. The way we pivot that is by focusing on what’s more important to your client which is the results they’ll get.
What I want you to realize is that it’s not necessarily something that is so hard to overcome. Think of it this way. How much less would someone have to pay for it to be a good deal but to not get the results they were after? For our B2B clients, results matter more than anything. We want to make sure that we first explain what prospects will get and why it’s important over-focusing primarily on price.
Talk about the results and how you can measure them together. This gives the client something to look forward to and be excited about other than a cheap price. Your goal should be to shift the conversation from price to results. Any time you get faced with price questions, your answer should be related to results.
The Strategy in Action
For example, let’s say you had laid out an 8-step process for your client. It was going to cost $50,000 and the client or prospect feels a little uneasy. It suddenly becomes the main focus of the conversation. Maybe they ask if you could drop your price to $40,000. Now, they’ve just shifted the entire conversation to price.
What you need to be able to say is: “Based on our understanding of the results you’re looking to achieve, this is the process we go through. And that’s $50,000. Have we overshot what we need in terms of results? Should we pare back some of this process for you? So that way, you’re not spending as much? Is that a better solution for you?”
What this response does is give us a way to have a conversation that shifts from price to results.
Getting Seen as a Commodity
This is the third main reason why your B2B clients tend to get stuck on price. We spend a lot of time in the Same Side Selling Academy in our Coach’s Corner talking about how to make sure you’re not commoditized.
What will often happen is this. Your client or prospect may mention how someone else is charging half your price. If they perceive you’re the same thing as the other vendor, they’re not going to want to pay twice as much.
So we need to help them understand how we’re different. Of the things to recognize is that if your clients don’t know the difference between what you do and what a competitor does it’s not their fault. It’s yours and we need a way to fix that.
I recommend using something I refer to as the client vision pyramid. Here’s how it works. When someone expresses interest in whatever it is you have, you want to describe what it is that you offer at three different levels. The idea is that it’s shaped like a pyramid.
Breaking Down the Client Vision Pyramid
People are looking for help. They’re usually looking for help at one of three levels. That base level is what we call the effective level. This is where you know exactly what you need. You just want to consume some sort of content from someone that can help your team with those specific areas. As long as you know exactly what you need, that’s fantastic.
The next level is the enhanced level. This is where you’re dealing with an organization that already a proven method. As long as you fit into their model, it works great.
The highest level is the engaged level. This is where they take the time to understand exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. Then, tailor a program or solution to meet those specific needs for your organization in a measurable way.
Which level you’re looking for? By figuring this out, what we’ve done is we’ve now helped the client realize the difference between:
- The effective – which is often a tactical or DIY approach
- The enhanced level – which is often kind of operational
- The engaged level – which is strategic
If we do it that way, we can help our clients understand how we’re not a commodity.
Remember those three different areas of how people get trapped in prioritizing pricing from B2B clients. Be sure to use the client vision pyramid to help make sure that you stand out over the competition. If you have additional questions, just post them in the comments below or on LinkedIn.
If there are other ideas that you think are worth sharing, share those in there as well.