Did You Have the Relationships Before the Competition Began?
Not losing on price starts with having the relationships that you need long before you need them. These relationships are the gateway to obtaining the access you need to the other important relationships within your dream client’s company.
Relationships also give you access to the information that you need in order to have an opportunity to compete on something other than price.
If your price is higher and your cost is lower, these relationships are the only way to get to tell that story. Relationships will also get you a second bite at the apple should your price be higher even with a lower cost, and when your dream client is confused by the differences.
Did you truly have the relationships that you needed to compete on something more than price before there was ever a competition?
Did I Have Multiple Discovery Appointments Before the Competition Began, and Did I Fully Understand my Dream Client’s Needs?
A single needs analysis sales call does not discovery make! If you are to present and sell something other than price, you have to have the knowledge and understanding to know what it is your dream client needs to buy and why.
Your sales process may recommend you acquire a power sponsor. I recommend you have a whole bunch of power sponsors—at least a couple more than a simple majority requires when the buying committee weighs in.
You pay for this consensus in advance by caring enough about the people who care about the issues you are working on to go and spend time with them. What is the message you send when you have never met with the people who will ultimately by affected by your solution, some of who will be voting to decide whether or not you are chosen?
You develop your understanding of your dream client’s challenges by spending time with their people and allowing them to educate you on what they need, when they need it, where they need it, and how they need it. It’s up to you whether you care enough to be perceived as the “who” that they need to help them produce a better outcome?
Did you have multiple discovery visits to develop your understanding before there was ever a competition?
Was Your Presentation Your Shared Vision of the Right Solution, Or Was It Your Vision and Your Company’s Solutions?
You don’t have to give a final presentation. You can, if you want to, have multiple presentations, finely tuning your presentation to ensure that your proposal is a shared vision, instead of being your vision and your company’s solutions.
To know whether you really lost on price you have to know whether or not you were selling your solution or their solution. Ultimately, their vision of the right answer is the right answer—and it is what they will purchase.
If you took the steps above and developed the relationships and your understanding, you will have had the opportunity to capture their vision and to build a solution that matched it. How much of what you presented was based on some customization or request that significantly modified your standard presentation or solution? How much did you have to change to make it fit?
Was what you presented an exact match for their vision and their belief as to what the right solution looks like?
Did You Tie the Costs to the Value Created Based on Your Dream Client’s Needs and Vision, Or Did You Provide Pricing?
There is a difference between price and cost. And I am not for one second suggesting that it easy to sell the difference between price and cost—especially when someone is really buying on price.
To succeed at not selling price, you have to shift the competition and the evaluation to cost. This is moving it to the price paid for value created, not the price alone.
The painful truth is that when you haven’t created the ability to tie your price to the value that you create and shift the competition to costs, you all but guarantee that price is the overriding factor your dream client uses to make their decision.
You create the ability to shift the focus to cost by developing the relationships that you need before there is a competition, by having multiple discovery visits to create a deep understanding and to solidify the relationships that you need, and by creating with your dream client a shared vision of the right solution.
If you didn’t sell cost instead of price, than you should not to have expected to win on something other than price. If you couldn’t answer in the affirmative to all of the above, then you didn’t do what was necessary to sell cost instead of price.