I saw a question in one of my news-feeds this week about pricing a product and when you should reveal the price to prospects: upfront in your proposal or not? Initially my first thought went to my blog article entitled 'Sales Over Marketing' and how many marketers would probably do something akin to an information dump and hope that the prospect generates their own buying impulse from what they receive and make a decision.
But then after reading ALL the comments of people brave enough to have a go at venturing 'WHAT YOU SHOULD ALWAYS DO IS: (#contrastingopinion)' I thought there is a lot of people in business who have found their own way as there is - to quote one of my daughters favourite Disney films (Rescuers 2) - "more than 1 way to skin a cat", a gruesome notion I agree but it concisely communicates the point and invokes an emotional response which I will explain the significance of later.
The same is true that there are many ways to get from where I live to London, but one route is the most efficient, the shortest, the easiest and even the most productive or cheapest route...why would I travel any other way? Relating this concept back to pricing ties in with MJB's pillar of success number 4: Pitch.
But what is a Pitch? I delivered a session on Pitching recently and I found there were a lot of people who associate the term pitch with a hard-sell, strong-arm techniques and pushy salespeople. The name hasn't changed, but what it represents certainly has, a pitch is simply your ability to communicate value, I will reiterate that: A pitch is anything THAT COMMUNICATES YOUR VALUE TO OTHERS. Why does that matter?
Well as I said in my Sales over marketing article a business only has to do 2 things well:
1. Offer a product/service that confers value to prospects (potential customers).
2. Sell that product/service to prospects in exchange for something (usually money).
If you can't do these things, your business is going nowhere: Do you want to do these things well or not? Do you want to convert a higher percentage of prospects in a shorter space of time based on the value you offer or not?
As soon as you divulge the price it becomes the forefront of the customers thought process.
Think about it, the last time you looked for a product you wanted in an Argos catalogue what was the first thing you looked at after you found the item? The price yes? Probably before you even read the item description which would describe the features and leave you to determine your own benefits and extrapolate the possible value you would receive from buying. They do this so well that Argos dominate that particular target market. Smaller businesses though don't have the library of products the Argos do spanning all the same areas so you have to work smarter.
Maybe you only have the one product/service which means you need to be surgical with your pitching. You need to communicate your value and get more 'yes' decisions.
My first request is that anybody reading this makes a commitment to themselves to consider how they are communicating value and is there anything that you can do to communicate more value to people with your pitch? Why? People will ONLY EVER buy from you if they believe that the value you are offering is below the price being asked.
From the graphic here to explain the idea a bit more the yellow star marks the buying point, this is the earliest time when a customer can make the decision to buy, before the lines cross this won't happen.
By divulging price at the start it is all the customer is going to think about until you have delivered enough value with the added hurdle of keeping them interested in what you are saying to them. It is easier to pass on your energy and passion to generate a buying impulse from a customer who has a curiosity about what your offering than it is to maintain their interest once they have got everything they need to know.
Remember: People LOVE to buy, but they HATE being sold to, which means you have to be clever about HOW your structure your pitch to make the lines of pitch and value cross as early as possible in the negotiation.
Building your pitch
This subtitle is actually misleading, you need more than one pitch, you need at least two for your business, as if it wasn't tough enough getting one right!! You need a pitch to get people interested in what you do, to get them hooked and curious about what it is you can offer because you want a chance for them to give you their undivided attention so you can showcase your value.
You then need a second pitch for the second encounter where you actually offer your value to them in search of the all important buying decision. As part of your MJB sales process you would learn that the first buying opportunity comes at the end of this second interaction - BUT IT ISN'T THE ONLY OPPORTUNITY and remembering that is key!! But that delves into the follow up - which most people don't do - not the pitch which is the subject of this article...
So we have ascertained the difference between the Hooking peoples attention pitch and the Value delivery pitch, which have been called many different things by many different people, but HOOKING and VALUE is what we will use today. When you are building your pitches it is CRUCIAL that you have the right Sales Attitude, that you are bristling with the energy and passion for your product because if you haven't got the energy about your product to pass on, you aren't going to generate the buying energy in the prospect: Energy is transferred, not created.
You need to be able to talk about your product for a few minutes or half the day it excites you so much, if you can already do that, structuring your pitches just becomes a matter of formatting and in some cases...restraint: I once heard a TV chef say that Michelin quality dishes aren't about what you put on the plate, but what you leave off, which I empathise with.
If you over divulge in your HOOKING pitch people are going to formulate their decision before you've had a chance to deliver your value in the form you'd like. You should NEVER EVER over deliver on prospects because they will take your value and you will be left with nothing to charge for but this is something that is more for your sales process than pitching.
So what do I put in my hook pitch?
Like most things, you need to be clear what you are trying to get back: The only purpose of this first pitch is to get to your value delivery pitch. You do this by provoking an emotional reaction to what you say.
It can be positive: I'll make you rich, I'll save you time, I'll improve the quality of your life...or negative: you need my service to function or fail, it seems counter productive to invoke a negative reaction but it stimulates the next conversation: How many people decided to vote for Brexit because of the negative thoughts they had about the possible outcome for either side instead of the positive perks that we would get back I wonder? Going back to the Rescuers 2 reference earlier: it isn't nice thinking about skinning a cat I know, but it invoked an emotional reaction to the point where: here I am talking about it and here you are reading about it...
As a tip, if you try and include buzz words in your pitch you will pass on the impulse a lot faster. Look at some of the phrases I use: Dominate your market, Transform your business, Maximise your profits...BOLD, STRONG, CONCISE phrases to make people sit up and listen to what I've got to say. You want to give your pitch and have people reaching for their diaries to book you in for the next meeting or throwing your details into their own network.
Think about it...How many people are in your network, how many people can you reach? What if in the power of your pitch you had everyone in your network pass on your details to everyone in their network? Or even just 10% of that number, how much business and opportunity would that generate for you and what would it do for your Sales Strategy?
NOW WE ARE WORKING SMARTER AREN'T WE?!?!?
Reality check: Getting excited yet? Think about this:
If you sell a single product for £50 to a network of 200 people you would make £10,000 which would cover the rent on an £833.33/pcm property for a year...score!
If you had that same 200 people buy your product and pass your details on to their network of 200 people and they all bought your product for £50 you would make £2,000,000!!! Even with a conversion of 20% you would still make £400,000...you could buy the above property for that possibly and have enough for the bubbly to shoot a cork at the front door when you get the deeds.
How is that unattainable? If your product conveys value and priced at £50 the rest is salescraft: communicating the value! Commit to that being a reality and say no to what amount of money you currently make and do it.
Sales consists of two systems:
1: Numbers and work ethic
2. Sales craft
Number one is taken care of in the last paragraph, number 2 is below:
Value Delivery Pitch
As I mentioned before we don't want to over deliver on prospects so we aren't really delivering the value here, merely showcasing what value there is to be had from buying from you when the real delivery occurs, but to build this pitch you have to consider the following:
What problem are you solving?
Can you describe it in a way that your customers identify with...is it a real life issue applicable to them?
Do you know how to convey what the value or benefit would be following the use of your product?
What vehicle are you going to use for delivery? For me I have four deliverable pillars: Attitude, Strategy, Process and Pitch - boost them all: boost your sales...FACT. But is yours consumable, is it a website, ongoing service or physical product?
Once you've brainstormed all that and are ready to build your pitch you need to position yourself as an authority, which means increasing your credibility.
Maybe that's through being introduced by someone else credible or writing a book or giving speaking gigs and webinars on a regular basis about your product area/market. Then you need to draw the picture of the problem for people and how it affects them, then as the credible expert highlight how your product eradicates this problem and demonstrate that it works or back it up with case studies, science papers or testimonials. Then the bit that nearly everyone forgets to do which is ASK FOR THE BUSINESS. Not a very British thing to do but necessary if you want more people to say YES. The last step is to generate that buying decision by leaving people uplifted in some way, perhaps an inspirational quotation or heartwarming case study about what difference your product can make for them.
I've detailed some ideas here about how you can develop your sales pitches but the reality is you have to combine pitch with attitude, strategy and process to be successful.
My take home message is that you have to understand that where you are isn't where you could be, you could be making 10 or 20 times the amount you are and it doesn't matter what you're selling, it is all about delivering VALUE in a way that resonates with customers and MONETISING it.