Wednesday, 6 June 2012

When Price Comes First

At dinner in Vegas two nights ago, a lively conversation broke-out about when to introduce the element of budget or price into a sales conversation.  I won’t rehash the conversation, but suffice to say I was on the side of developing price and budget as late as possible, and three other very effective salespeople would see the issue developed very early.

A few times during our buying at the show I jokingly used a phrase I learned from the late, great, Varouj Arkarakas.  After identifying the item I was interested in, I asked, “how much is it, and why so much?”  The phrase offends me and I try to only use it tongue-in-cheek.  When you break it down, the question puts the seller on the defensive.  With a gun to his head, he must either defend the worth or acknowledge that the price is too high.

It hit me again at dinner yesterday with my cousin and a friend from Connecticut.  Heather works for Elite Traveller Magazine, and was promoting to my cousin Ken who markets Ammolite Jewellery by Korite.  They exchanged cards and Ken said, “send me the rate card and then we’ll discuss the REAL price.”  Now, magazines are notorious for building a significant buffer into their rates for negotiation, so he wanted to let her know that he was aware of this. 

If you’re the seller, I think you want the chance to develop the worth of your product before price comes into the conversation.  Shane Decker spent an hour talking about romancing the product so that it will seem awkward to ask for a discount.  Martin DeWitt at the Rapaport Diamond Conference spent much time talking about romancing hand-selected diamonds over the rejected stones on the internet. 

Shrewd shoppers will try to make it about price.  It’s your job to develop desire for a design and excitement about the prospect of owning that product so that price will drop down the chain of importance.  It’s easier to proactively develop the issue of worth before a budget puts the handcuffs on you.

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