How can you handle customers who want a better price without losing them?
View all articles by Cathy Finney
Who do you think you are... Monty Hall?
Settle: This is one of my favorite words in the English language. Nobody wants to settle! If you "settle" it sounds like you are a second class citizen! That's the reason Cybil Shepard's Loreal commercial is such a hit. "I'm worth it!" We are all worth it!
Ask them, "You like this one, but, you love that one. For ___$ do you really want to settle for something that you like vs. something that you love? Why would you ever want to do that? You are going to be owning this, and living with this for a long time. Which one do you want to see every morning, and curl up in every night?"
Don't ever let your client "settle." Remember: "a thing of beauty lasts forever. Ugly seems to stick around twice as long!"
"I CAN GET IT CHEAPER"
Of course they can! They can always find a lower price. But are they comparing apples and apples, or oranges and bananas? There's a reason the price is less at "the other place." Actually, there are lots of reasons including:
- How it is constructed.
- The warranties.
- How comfortable it is.
- What it is "stuffed with."
I don't want you putting down your competition. Don't ever do that. Remember, you're the pro here, however, I do want you to ask some pertinent questions to get them thinking. Plant some seeds here, seeds of doubt for your customer to ponder.
- · "Why is there such a difference in price?"
- · "Will they give me the service I deserve?"
- · "What am I really getting here?"
- · "Does this come with any type of warranty?"
If you plant the seed in this way, you will be creating the need for "you!"
REMEMBER: "YOU" ARE NOT DOWN THE STREET!
YOU ARE HERE! HELP THEM!
When your customer says they can get the same products elsewhere for less, their thought processes haven't gone far enough. They think that by "economizing today" they will be saving money. However, that's not what happens! In the long run they may end up "spending" more! Actually, a lot more! They "end up" spending quite a bit of money dressing up something they don't even like! Something that they "settled" on! (there's that word again!)
As one friend of mine always asks her clients, Wouldn't you rather invest a little more than you planned, than a little less than you should?" (Is this great?)
THE MOST EXPENSIVE WAY TO BUY... BUY IT TWICE!
It's as if today's consumer is "buying by the pound!" They will invest the money. Your job is to educate them. You must make them believe that pound for pound they are getting their money's worth. That's what they want to know!
We only purchase furniture two or three times in our lifetime. Put this in perspective by asking them my three favorite questions for handling all kinds of objections:
- "How long have you owned your previous furniture?"
- "How long are you planning on owning this one?"
- And my favorite "How long do you want it to look good?" (This one says it all!)
Please note that these three questions also eliminate the "dreaded delivery time" objection!
I love the slogan of Steinway pianos. "We build to a standard ~ not to a price.
FEEL . . . FELT . . . FOUND
To assist the consumer you must empathize with what they're going through. Feel, felt, found is the best way to do this. They want what you have or they wouldn't be taking their time to stand there and object. They are just having trouble rationalizing ~ this entire process! So let them know that you understand...
"I know how you "feel" Sam, I've had some other clients who have "felt" the same way. But, they have "found" that when they invest in furniture of good quality they are making an investment that lasts them a long time."
We are talking total empathy here! You are not making them feel like they are cheap because they are questioning the price. They do not look like this is all that they can afford. After all, you've had some other clients question it too. (What's that saying about safety in numbers?)
It's okay for them to question it. You understand where they're coming from. You're assisting them by letting them know what other people have experienced. When they made this decision it was a smart investment and they were glad they made it!
You probably have heard of this technique before ~ but ~ are you using it? It creates a comfort level for everyone involved in this decision.
DEAL (gulp) "THAT" FOUR-LETTER WORD!
My blood stopped flowing and I started to experience shortness of breath whenever I heard that word. I'd race to the owner, "You handle this one. They want a deal!" Of course he wouldn't handle it. I had to! So back out I would s-l-o-w-l-y go. Picture Daniel and the lions and you've got the idea.
Then eventually I learned that just because they are asking for a deal didn't necessarily mean that they wanted one. They were asking to see if they could get one!
There is a tremendous difference here! Just don't you panic! It's the old saying, "You don't ask, you don't get.' That's why they're asking!
Where I worked we did not deal. This was not a car dealership. So I discovered the best way to handle the "Dealmaker" was to empathize, identify, and not panic!
"You know Harry, so many furniture stores today do wheel and deal. If I were shopping for furniture, I would have asked the same question. But here at "XYZ" we don't do that. We offer a quality product at a very good value. We stand behind the product and I stand behind you. For that reason we don't deal. But, I really thank you for asking."
Total empathy. When you say that, "A lot of furniture stores do wheel & deal," you are telling your customer that:
- He's not the first person to ask you for a deal.
- Other people have asked you the exact same question.
- Many stores do, we don't.
- When you say that, "I would have asked the same question." you are telling your customer that: Therefore, you don't think he's cheap.
- He doesn't look like he can't afford the regular price!
- He's asking, and that's okay.
When you say that, "we offer a quality product at a very good value," you are telling your customer that:
- ·I can see that you are a discriminating shopper and that quality and value are important to you.
Your NAME IS NOT MONTY HALL THIS IS NOT "LET'S MAKE A DEAL!"
The problem with "wheeling & dealing" is this: Once you give them $50 off, now they want $100 then $150. You play this game and now they're thinking, "Gee, it's a good thing I asked about a deal. If I hadn't they would have really ripped me off!" ·This is not the way to bond and instill trust.
The other huge dilemma that grows wings and takes flight is that when all you are selling is price you have created absolutely no customer loyalty. None! Nada! Zip!
A WASTE OF AD DOLLARS
When you sell a "one time customer" based on price you end up "spending" money on advertising. It's a "one time shot!" You'll never see them again. There goes "Fred" and there goes your advertising dollar$$$!
When customers become clients they will return to do business with you again and again. Now you're investing your advertising dollars. When the clients you've established return. You are getting a return on your advertising investment!
As Dr. Albert Bates emphasizes in his seminars "Price problems occur when sameness occurs.
WE MUST DIFFERENTIATE OURSELVES!"
How do we differentiate ourselves? You know the answer to this. It's you! You are the pro. Don't diminish your value or your expertise.
I had a couple who came in three times and always wanted a deal. He was a doctor and she was an engineer. Their house was brand new and empty, they needed my help. That third time he was still "reciting" the "D" word. Finally I had it! He was costing me time and I wasn't getting anywhere! So I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Dr. Johnson (the name has been changed to conceal the guilty) we just switched insurance companies here and I need to get a check-up. I'll come and see you for my physical. What kind of deal are you going to give me?" He looked at me and he was appalled. He sputtered and stuttered, "Cathy, I don't give deals. I am a professional."
I shook his hand, looked him dead in the eye and said, "Thank you Dr. Johnson so am I."
He became one of my best clients and he never asked me for another deal!
When you let them know who you are, why you are here and how you can help them they will never see you sweat!
Cathy Finney is President of Ancell Affiliates \"T 'N T." She is a noted motivational speaker, sales trainer, and management consultant. Her latest audio tape series on follow-up is called "The Marketing of "Me, Inc." -Taking Your Company Into the Next Millennium--10 audio tapes plus a comprehensive "how-to" manual that helps your people turn all the customers into "clients!" Questions can be addressed to her care of FURNITURE WORLD at email@example.com.
Cathy Finney, effervescent sales educator, motivator and management consultant was a longtime contributing editor to FURNITURE WORLD Magazine. Cathy helped retail furniture store sales and design associates to turn customers (she called them Fred and Ethel) into clients. An enthusiastic mentor and friend to up-and-coming salespeople, she told them to remember that they are skilled professionals and that “Ethel” needs them to get the best possible result for her room or project.
Finney got her start in the furniture business with Ethan Allen where she worked closely with Furniture Hall of Fame member Nathan Ancell. Her company, Ancell Affiliates \"T 'N T" resulted from that close relationship. She passed away at 59 years of age after a long struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. For more information about Cathy and here work email firstname.lastname@example.org.
View all articles by Cathy Finney