How Sales Managers and Reps Protect Margins in Q4

Part I

Screen-Shot-2014-06-02-at-8.19.06-PMQ4 is upon us.  How are you going to focus your team in the coming months to successfully close business and maximize revenue potential? One way is to avoid discounting. This may be easier said than done, especially in the fourth quarter when buyers are working hard to get the best deals possible. But, there are two proven methods of avoiding price discounts that we teach our clients in nearly every workshop we run.

The first is to prove value.

Proving value is one of the most fundamental and important skills we work on with our sales reps, and it is central to any customer-focused selling methodology. In order to avoid heavy discounting at the end of the sales cycle, sellers must thoroughly understand their customers’ primary business objectives, the key challenges they face that prevent them from achieving those objectives, and the financial impact of doing nothing. Then, they must align their product/service capabilities with those challenges in the form of a question, such as “if you had a printing service that could turn around jobs in 24 hours and offers free delivery, would that solve the challenge you’d mentioned related to compressed timelines and skyrocketing costs?”

Once that value has been established, when buyers ask for the discount at the end of the sales cycle (and they will ask for the discount), sellers can return to the value they had both agreed their product or service would bring. When asked for the discount, a seller might say, “during our previous conversation, you agreed that using our printing services would save you an estimated $50,000/yr in rush charges and delivery fees. Has anything changed since our last conversation?” Reminding buyers of the value of your solution and the cost to them of not changing is key to closing business without price concessions.

For more on the questions sellers should ask in order to thoroughly establish value, take a look at our three-part series “Helping Your Customers Achieve Their Objectives”.

The second method is skillful negotiation, and we’ll cover that in our blog post later this week, so stay tuned.

Click here to go to Part II