An End to Price Wars?
Tired of getting beat up on price? Tired of losing clients to web stores, manufacturers who sell direct and competitors who seem able to undercut you at will? Maybe it's time to reconsider the role price plays in your business.
Price will always be a primary issue for any business, but should it be its only competitive point? More and more, successful print and promo distributors are saying, "No, not by a long a shot."
There's an idea, generally referred to as "consultative selling," that is becoming increasingly popular in the print and promo community. Instead of selling from a purely "product-and-price" angle, the salesperson takes a more ad agency-like approach and focuses on solving the client's core problem. In other words, what makes the client seek the items in the first place?
It's perhaps a subtle shift in business philosophy that can be vital for the growth of your company. When your goal is to solve problems rather than just provide product, clients will begin to judge you based on results, greatly reducing your vulnerability to price wars.
Consultative selling is how you beat the web stores, the under-cutters, the manufacturers and the IP thieves. It's how you broaden your business's competitive traits, build a list of clients who are more loyal and harder to poach, and even increase your profit per sale.
Interested? Good. To get you rolling past your price-obsessed peers, here is a list of 10 tips on the consultative sales approach.
1. Begin With Their Core Objective, Then Work Backward
Identify the company's needs. "The process starts by asking the right questions (the consultation) to help determine what promotional products, services and creative message/campaign (the value) can help reach that core objective," said Dan Livengood, senior manager of business expansion and professional development, Newton Manufacturing Co., Newton, Iowa. As Bruce Felber, MAS, director of marketing and sales support for the Image Group, Holland, Ohio, explained, it's about aiming your questions at a customer's needs and wants, as opposed to just selling a product.