It’s not new, and it’s not even surprising anymore, but it is sad.
What is sad is the amount of human time and energy put in to the price of what we sell. We have pricing strategies, pricing matrices, price lists, price points, price quotes, price negotiations, rebates, pre-bates, discounts, and endless systems and tools all created to scratch out pennies of differences.
There are software companies that earn their keep just helping us avoid price erosion from tons of different sources. There are consultants to help us have conversations with purchasing teams who are individually incentivized to claw back even 1% of the price of a product.
It’s all about the price. But it’s not really.
The reality is that what we are selling is ourselves, not our stuff. It is ourselves that we are pricing, not our products. If we discount, then we discount what we have done for our client, not our products. Don’t kid yourself - when you are giving way the money you are actually giving away the value that you did or did not create for a client.
The verb ‘discount’ has two meanings. The first is to deduct an amount or reduce a price. We know that one. But we sometimes forget the second meaning, which is intrinsically part of the first: to “regard something as unworthy of consideration because it lacks credibility.”
So, what are your efforts worth? Are you worthy of consideration? Are you credible? Are you delivering value?
If you concede to pricing discount points you are conceding to the devaluation of yourself first. Our friend Dave Brock recently touched on this subject in a blog – go read it here.
Dave recounts some of his own experiences selling when his product rarely had the best price and discounting was not an option. This led to the necessity of creating real value for his clients. Exactly! This is what selling is really about.
This was driven home with recent experiences with some in our channel and all of their efforts to extract every nano-cent of margin that they can by any means possible as we work through a business transition. Life as a middleman is difficult in every industry today and I appreciate their “focus”. And if we spent just as much time in the creation of client-acknowledged value we would be much happier along the way.
So, as individuals in the battle of B2B selling, what do we do? You know what, the answer to that question is really not all that difficult. That sayin’ - most folks just don’t do it.
We think different. We have great 2 way conversations… that matter!
We think about our client, not ourselves and our offerings.
We think about our clients and what they think about. We walk that mile in their shoes. We listen really well. We do research about our clients, their business, their clients, and we UNDERSTAND! We CARE! We care, because it is in our nature to help people.
There are hardware, software, servers and clouds, all at work to help us care. We just need to think of the tools at hand as having that purpose. Data, big and small, CAN be of value, if we look at it in the light of what we can learn that will HELP our client, not us.
Bob Burg, the author of two GREAT books, The Go Giver, and The Go Giver Sells More teaches us about the real values that matter to our clients, and he says, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”
That is more true than ever. And the basis for that entire statement comes from serving the client’s business challenges better than anyone else. That is the only path to a trusted advisor position in the life of selling.
You cannot discount your way to success. Greatness as a sales person is built with the bricks of service, caring, understanding and helping.
Let’s get to building!