Not a day goes by that a salesperson is not asked, “What’s your best price?” If this question is handled in an insincere way (if answered at all), it could send a customer in a rage with smoke billowing out of their ears ready to pummel the salesperson for not answering the question. Price has very little to do with making a sale. Don’t believe me? If price had anything to do with purchasing a cup of coffee, why would anyone pay 5 times the amount for a cup of “celebrity” coffee when they could pay far less at the “get-it-and-go” gas station? Customers pay for two things: experience and value. When experience and value outweigh price a purchase is made. A wise investor, aka customer, will always question what the potential gain will be for the risk taken. Put another way, will the return exceed the investment? It is time to stop being defensive on price and begin to embrace the thinking behind P.R.I.C.E.
P- Prepare. Henry Hartman said, “Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity.” I was taught discipline will beat talent every time. Building the proper foundation of knowledge is critical toward becoming successful. As it is written, “It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.” If you are disciplined to study not only everything about your product, but also the relevant information of your competitor’s product, you will beat the most talented, undisciplined salesperson. Talent is what you can do naturally; discipline is a regimen that develops or improves a skill. “Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.”
R- Remember. Patricia Fripp put it best when she said, “Remember it’s not your customer’s job to remember you. It’s your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have a chance to forget you.” Your stage is an opportunity to showcase what you and your product can do for your customer. Keep in mind that even though you have performed your show (product presentation) many times each day, six days per week, the customer has not seen your show. Think as a Las Vegas performer-performing for the audience as if every night is opening night. Create a carnival-like atmosphere for your customer that will be enjoyable to both you and them.
I-Identify the needs of your customer. Each customer’s needs are as unique as a thumbprint- they are all different. Do not make the mistake of giving a “canned” presentation to every customer. If your presentation is not geared specifically towards your customer’s wants and needs it could result in a lost opportunity for a sale. You should present your product that will address: Who the main decision maker is? What is the need for your product? Why is your product superior to your competitors’? When will they need your product? How will your product serve their needs?
C- Collate everything into a professional, tailor-made sales presentation. You must, must, must display enthusiasm when presenting your product. Zig Ziglar maintains, “For every sale you miss because you are too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you are not enthusiastic enough.” Preparation breeds confidence; confidence makes way for enthusiasm, enthusiasm paves the road for the sale.
E- Establish a relationship with your customers. This is the most important stage in the sales process. Customers do not want to know what you do, they want to know you care…about them. Selling is just like dating. When you meet someone, you work hard to establish rapport, credibility, and trust. If you can establish those key ingredients, you may get a second date. (Sound familiar?) In his new book, The Sales Bible, Jeff Gitomer wrote, “If you make a sale, you can earn a commission. If you make a friend, you can earn a fortune.”
So the next time a customer asks for your best price, confidently respond by saying, “I am glad you asked.” Know that your best price comes from all of the preparation in your product, remembering to make their experience unique and fun by identifying their wants and needs, Collating all of it together onto your “Vegas-style” stage- all the while remembering throughout the sales process you are establishing a personal relationship with them. As long as you walk on this earth you are going to be something; you might as well be successful.
If I live whispering the words, if only,
I will live a life that bears no fruit and ends quite lonely.
My dreams and fortunes are waiting to be found,
all I have to do is flip those 2 words around.
Going from a wish to a demand,
puts my future back in my hands,
the plane of success only I can land.
If only I had fortune and fame,
I can, only if I develop a reputation and build a good name.
If only I could be debt free and owe no more,
I can, only if I plan for the future,
living for today will leave me poor.
If only I could spend more time with the ones who love me more times than not,
I can, only if I work harder on them than I do punching a clock.
The list of if only’s can go on for years, months, days, even hours,
I can change my circumstances only if I have a heart of desire.
For desire is a feeling of expectation or inclination of wanting more,
I know only I can unlock my future’s door.
I could tell when my friend called me from Austin last weekend, he was not paying me a social call. Absent from our conversation was the normal bantering of insults hurled at each through laughter. My heart immediately dropped into my stomach because I knew whatever the message, it was not good. A friend and loyal customer of ours was suddenly killed that humid July morning. As was AJ’s nature, if someone would call for help, rest assured AJ would be there. His neighbor had called him and asked him to help cut a tree. I imagine AJ had cut more trees than I have numbered the years on earth. From what I know everything was going according to plan when suddenly the tree shifted and AJ’s safe place now became a place of tragic ending. He was struck in the head and killed instantly.
Years ago, AJ came by the dealership for nothing more than to say hello and have a cup of coffee. Without saying a word, one of my managers reached in his desk drawer and pulled out a blue velvet box about the size of a man’s hand (not Shaq’s) and handed it to AJ. I now believe the saying that “we are all young at heart,” because at that instant he went from a man who had seen nearly 7 decades of living to a 12 year old on Christmas day. His eyes lit up as he pulled out the sterling silver belt buckle engraved with the Dodge Ram’s head on it. Every year the rodeo we sponsor gives us a Silversmith belt buckle. Although nice, the buckle does not mean alot to us city slickers. It meant the world to AJ. In his casket, he laid peacefully- the buckle wrapped around his waist. There were numerous pictures of him wearing that buckle displayed throughout the funeral home’s room. We have heard people say the phrase, “I take it everywhere I go;” AJ did just that. I mean he took pictures from dress clothes, to jeans, to bathrobes- and the buckle was there with AJ, both smiling proudly for the camera. AJ loved life. He always had a smile on his face and a laugh that would turn the most sour person’s day around. He lived a full life, not necessarily by years, but by the love he left behind. He made his mark and then he had to leave.
Death is a jolting reminder of how precious life really is. There were no guarantees that our mothers would carry us full term. There were a myriad of circumstances that would have caused us to not be born, but there is a 100% guarantee that we will die. As a matter of fact, we are dying right now. Fortunes have been made, lost, and made again; we do not have that luxury with time. I think about how many times I have stormed out of the house angry, like a 37 year old child who did not get his way. What if I never came back? If I were to die at that second what would I have given to kiss my family just one last time…just to say goodbye?
Through the eyes of death we see life, and through life we live the possibilities. There are possibilities all around us, but many times we cannot see them because we are too busy focused on the problems around us which probably will not matter 2 years, 2 months, or even 2 minutes from now.
We have the power of choice. What we do with the 86,400 seconds we have today is up to us. We can squander our time wasting it on inconsequential things or we can spend it as a philanthropist, living for not just for ourselves, but more for others-even people we do not even know and hope we get a chance to do it again tomorrow. The time we have can pay dividends or incur losses, depending how we chose to invest it.
When the sands run out of your hour glass the only thing that will have mattered is the mark you left behind on this earth. That mark is called a Legacy….how you leave it is up to you.