Posted: 8th May 2018
By Jan Cavelle
During the wonderful WiRE conference where I did a workshop, many delegates talked of their lack of clarity on price and value. Because we either don’t understand, and or under-rate what value is when it comes to selling, we get price problems as a result. I often hear people say with both anger and frustration that their clients don’t understand the time it takes to do the work, or that the customer doesn’t appreciate the years of training they have had to do. I hear people saying that they are struggling to sell and are about to put their prices down.
They are right; their customers not only don’t understand those things – they aren’t interested in them either. And no, putting prices down is never the answer, assuming they have been set on both the going rate and what that person needs to sell at to be profitable. So what is the answer instead? Getting to grips with value.
When we are selling, value is very closely tied in to the way we feel about ourselves. If we are, even temporarily, under-valuing ourselves, we will under-value what we do in our businesses as well. And if we do that, our customers will too. Under-charging and undervaluing our services or products will just attract customers wanting work done on the cheap, and those customers will also always be the ones who will give us the most trouble.
Women put relationships first, which is nice, but can hamper us in selling. We will avoid telling the customer how good we are with the right conviction because we think that sounds like boasting. Wanting to be liked within business is an insecurity that leaves us open to abuse, especially when it comes to price. On the flip side, being sure of our own value, and the value of what we do, stops that happening.
It also helps stop us fall into our favourite habit of giving things away for nothing. A man thinks of creative ideas as bargaining chips. We think of them as presents we can give our customers to make them happy and like us. We are also afraid of the possible rejection in sales and make the mistake of seeing that as personal too, whereas a man knows it is business. We have to concentrate on not listening to any silly thoughts in our heads saying we are not good enough – we have worked long and hard to do what we are doing.
The other point about this is we are letting our own ego get in the way. And that is going to scupper our chances in selling in all sorts of ways. Because selling is not about us – it is about the customer. Therefore, they may well not care that we did three long years studying a marketing degree, but they do care about us being able to add to their bottom line. One is of value to us and the other is of value to them. Never get the two muddled. They will only pay for what is of value to them.
Value to the client lies in their emotional need for the product. It is literally the ego voice in their subconscious that says “I want” from the gut and the heart. We humans have things we care zealously about, desires we feel passionately for things we must achieve or things we want to have. We don’t stop and analyse them. We just feel them. They range from our desires to save the planets, to our cravings for chocolate. Everything we buy springs from a desire to feel good or even better, or to stop ourselves feeling bad.
Because it is subconscious, and ego driven, we tend to justify the desire especially when our judgemental facilities tell us that wanting it is not a good thing. Thus we will tell ourselves how we deserve a treat and the chocolate we want is dark chocolate so doesn’t really count. This all helps to disguise the real, emotional driver behind the purchase from anyone selling. This is why it is so essential to get to know your customer really well and to uncover the emotional need underneath the reasons they may be giving you.
In this emotional need is the key to value. We all will pay a little bit more, sometimes a whole lot more, to satisfy an emotional need. Something we don’t really want is always going to be too expensive, whatever the price.
When we business women care so desperately about what we do, it is very easy to fall into the trap of presenting it, believing it is brilliant, listing its features, and forgetting to relate to that to your customer’s emotional needs. Instead, take that list and transform it into a mental picture for your customer that relates to their emotional needs. So, if you are selling them a large L shaped sofa, rather than list the exact sizes, talk about how their whole family would have space to cuddle up together in front of the fire on a cold winter’s night.
Never forget that the way to getting rich and being successful is solving other people’s problems. And making ourselves continually feel safe or feel good is the ongoing problem of mankind. The bigger the problem, the more you can charge – because that solution is of even more value.