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High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price

High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price

by Mark Hunter, CSP
High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price

High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price

by Mark Hunter, CSP


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Negotiating isn't always in a business's best interest. This powerful guide explains how to increase your sales--and do so while selling at a higher price.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814420096
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 02/15/2012
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,063,732
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mark Hunter, known as, "The Sales Hunter," is globally recognized for his expertise in sales leadership. He specializes in business development and guiding organizations to find and retain high-quality prospects without discounting their fee. His ability to inspire sales teams to create self motivating and integrity driven cultures, makes Mark Hunter a highly sought after keynote speaker, consultant and coach. Mark has taken his vision for sales leadership to more than 25 countries and 5 continents where he leads and consults with companies ranging from small startups to global giants.

Read an Excerpt


Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price
By Mark Hunter


Copyright © 2012 Mark Hunter
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8144-2009-6

Chapter One

You Are Hurting Your Profit

SOME PEOPLE PLACE THE BLAME for anything that goes wrong on someone or something else. This has become the norm today with far too many salespeople. They blame their inability to make the sale on everything except the fact that they are unable to present a compelling reason for customers to buy from them.

If you were to ask salespeople why they can't close more sales, many of them would claim it is because their price is too high and simply more than what their customers want to spend. I've heard this excuse thousands of times. I can't begin to tell you how often I've seen marketing departments and sales executives get sucked into believing it. But in reality, price is only one of many factors that influence people or companies to buy. Even if you are in a business where you sell commodities, there are other issues, such as quantity, delivery time, shipping method, and payment terms, that influence the customer's buying decision. Unfortunately, many salespeople have the tendency to turn this one element—price—into the only issue.

The business environment is tough. There are always outside factors beyond the control of the salesperson that can and will affect how customers behave. Whether the economy is up or down, it seems that customers are asking for a discount or saying they won't pay the listed price. It's time we slay the myth that selling revolves around price. I can dispel this false concept for you, both in your personal sales process and in your entire company, so that you can stop hurting your profit and actually start increasing it.

In this book, I'll show you how to get the customer to accept your price. Beyond that, I'm also going to show you how to increase your price and have your customer thank you for charging more. Yes, you read that right! I'm going to help you to convince your customer that there's a higher level of value reflected in the higher prices you are charging, which is representative of both you and what you are selling. You may be wondering if I've lost my mind. It's okay to doubt me, because it means that once I show you and, more important, convince you that you can turn a higher price in your favor, you'll embrace my recommendations even more.

Ask yourself:

Would I be a better salesperson if I could generate 20 percent more profit off the same amount of sales?

Now ask yourself:

If I could increase the value of what I'm selling in the eyes of my customer, how much more profit would that be worth to me?

Finally, ask yourself:

If all it took was 30 minutes a day to increase my overall sales performance by 30 percent, would it be worth it?

I bet I know how you'd answer each of these questions. The questions themselves are not tough to answer. The challenge is in figuring out how to proceed after you have answered them. You obviously care enough about improving your profitability to have bought this book, so I have no doubt that you want to do what it takes. I'm committed to helping you.

What Is This Book Worth to You?

Reread the previous paragraph and you'll notice that I didn't mention the price of this book. I pointed out the value of what you are going to get from it. I set up a scenario and got you to do some self-reflecting. By merely going through this exercise, you've begun to determine what the price/value relationship is for High-Profit Selling. Some of you may see the book as a tool for potentially unlocking $1 million in increased profitability for your company each year. Others may see a $50,000 annual opportunity, while still others may see only $1,000 per year. What would the value of this book be if the increase in profitability you gain from it occurs each year for the next ten years?

Regardless of the specific increase in profitability you may potentially realize, you have an expected benefit for the book—and this expected benefit plays immediately into the price you are willing to pay for it.

What if the price of the book could vary by an amount reflecting the full value of what somebody would gain from it? If that were possible, then some people would pay $20 while others would pay $20,000. Naturally, this is not possible. I use this example because I recognize that in some situations it's not possible to vary the price or some other part of the price equation. These circumstances can make your role as a salesperson more difficult. However, the premise of this book is that you must find a way to increase profit whatever the situation.

To increase your profit you may have to find other ways to enable the customer to receive value, which means you need to have different strategies and tactics to help you through all situations. Throughout this book I'll show you how to do just that.

To Maximize Profit, Change How You View Your Customers

You must be able to provide your customers with the services and/or products they want in a manner that allows you to maximize your profit. To that end, you have to change the way you view your customers. The solution lies in seeing each customer as having unique needs that require a unique solution from you. When you view your customers in this way, you will discover new opportunities to assist them and they in turn will be willing to pay more for these solutions.

Maximizing your profit also requires that you assess your service or product offerings to tailor them more effectively to what the customer wants. Don't worry, I'm not proposing changes to your manufacturing or supply-chain systems. In the vast majority of selling situations, maximizing profit does not require any changes to your internal process. The changes you'll need to make are to your selling process and how you deal with your customer. This is why I say high-profit selling is all about you. When you, the salesperson, take ownership of the complete selling process and the customer, it's amazing what can and will happen.

It's Time to Look in the Mirror

Throughout this book you'll find countless proven methods for selling more effectively and successfully. But before you can begin to put even the first principle to work, you have to look in the mirror and assess yourself. Don't look for others to be your key to success. More than anything else, it's sales motivation that counts. The less sales motivation you have, the more profit is lost. Sales motivation is composed of your attitude and your confidence. You can have the greatest product in your industry or niche, you can have unbelievable advertising or fabulous marketing materials, but you can still lose sales if your attitude is poor and you lack confidence.

In my years as a sales consultant to corporations large and small around the globe, I've sat across the desk from many marketing and/or sales VPs and told them not to spend one more penny on advertising or marketing until they fix the problems with their sales force. I look them in the eye and say they must look closely at their team's level of confidence in what they are doing and what they are selling. Yes, this critique has made for some tense situations, but I'm a firm believer in making sure that sales can handle what marketing will deliver.

The example I like to use is that there's no sense in owning a Lamborghini if you don't know how to drive it. You'll never be able to fully appreciate its qualities unless you are skilled at driving a high-performance car. The same applies in sales. We all have the ability to communicate with customers, but do we all have the ability to truly sell? If you don't possess the best selling skills, there's no way you'll ever be able to fully use the opportunities that marketing may give to you.

If you think I'm putting marketing on a pedestal, I assure you that's not the case. I've been in sales for more than twenty-five years, and during that time I've grown skeptical of what the typical marketing department claims it can do. I believe that sales and marketing must work together cohesively if either is going to achieve its goals. Think of it this way: Sales and marketing are connected in a food chain. Marketing creates the food that sales eats. There's no reason for marketing to create anything that sales can't eat. At the same time, there's no reason for sales to ask marketing to make anything that sales won't eat.

Your Confidence Drives Your Attitude

Your level of confidence drives how much you believe in what you sell and how you deal with your customers. Unfortunately, too many salespeople lack complete confidence in what they sell and, therefore, in the price they are expected to charge. Why? The simple fact is that the vast majority of salespeople are not willing to take personal responsibility for failing to close more sales.

If we were to believe that the reason salespeople are not more successful is simply because of pricing, then all we'd have to do to solve the problem is lower the price we ask for our goods or services. The problem with this line of thinking is that no matter how much you lower your price, you are almost always cutting your profits by a percentage far greater than the percentage of the price reduction. Salespeople often fail to realize the damage they are doing to themselves, and to their business, by thinking they can close more sales by taking this price-cutting approach.

The other problem with lowering the price to close more sales is that there's no guarantee the competition won't do the same thing. And what's to say the customer isn't going to continue to demand further price reductions? Either way, you lose. What's the point of selling anything if you are unable to make any money from the sale? This is why you must establish, in the mind of your customers, the value they will receive at the price you offer.

The level of confidence you must have is not just in the product or service you are selling, but also in the price you are asking. Let's dig into this idea by using a comparison of two companies and the different ways in which they determine the price they ask for the same item.

Can a Company Asking a Higher Price Really Win?

Here's an example I frequently use when addressing sales organizations: One company, which we'll call Ace, is struggling to grow, but the products it makes are very good. Ace is a smaller player in the marketplace and establishes its pricing based on what it costs to make the product. The company's managers have done repeated analysis of their cost structure and know exactly what it costs to make their goods; therefore, they know exactly how to price them based on these costs.

A second company, which we'll call Big, is a large, well-financed, multinational organization that produces the same item as Ace. But Big does not price its product based on what it costs to produce. Instead, Big bases the product's price on the value its customers see in the product. The entire sales process is all about helping customers realize the value of what they are buying. More important, Big has excelled at showing customers how the product helps them deal with their critical needs.

By now you probably know where I'm going with this story. The company that is able to get a much higher price is Big. The real issue, though, is that the salespeople who work for Ace are nothing more than order takers who fail to maximize their relationships with their customers. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Big's customers probably appreciate the relationship they have with Big more than Ace's customers appreciate Ace. Big clearly is focused on helping its customers see how they are getting a superior value.

Are you beginning to grasp this vital concept? Value is what the customer believes it is, not what the salesperson thinks it is. In too many selling situations, you may be doing way too much thinking! That is, when you focus too much about how you define value, and you try to sell that idea of value to someone else, it can start knocking down your confidence. As your confidence gets knocked down, your attitude starts to suffer, and suddenly you are in a vicious downward spiral. A better approach is to allow your customers to define value for you.

Confidence—in yourself and in what you sell—is without a doubt the greatest single asset you can bring to both your customers and your profitability. Your challenge is my challenge, because I'm committed to helping you find ways to increase your level of confidence in the prices you offer. Note the last word in the previous sentence is "offer" not "charge." Confident salespeople don't charge anybody anything, so strike that word from your vocabulary from this point on. Rather, confident salespeople allow their customers to invest in, to participate in, and to benefit from their offerings. It doesn't matter whether you sell in a business-to-business environment or a business-to-consumer environment. The principle is the same.

People Don't Buy—They Only Invest

Customers don't want to buy. They only want to invest in order to achieve something: to get some sort of gain or to relieve a pain. For example, a company may be looking to buy insurance to minimize the risk of theft or vandalism; this would be an investment to relieve a pain. The company is only going to invest enough money in buying insurance to offset what it sees as the risk. If the company believes the potential loss from theft (i.e., the pain the company would suffer) would not be very much, it might make the decision not to buy insurance. An example of a gain that a company might invest in would be buying a new piece of equipment to help operations run more efficiently. In both these cases, the company will invest if it can get a clear return on investment. Although the cost (price) is factored into the decision, it is really the return on that cost that is most important—so price is a secondary consideration.

While these examples involve businesses, the concept applies equally to individual customers. They are also looking to gain something or to relieve pain when they are contemplating making a purchase—or, should I say, looking to invest.

Confident salespeople help their customers succeed, and that's exactly what you are doing when you sell something. For instance, I have a high degree of confidence in what I do as a consultative sales expert because I firmly believe I'm helping you and thousands of others achieve a higher level of profit from each sale.

An exercise I like to take salespeople through to help them develop their confidence is to ask them to write the top-five reasons customers buy from them. I then ask them to detail specifically what benefits their customers gain from the purchase. Do this exercise for yourself and keep your written answers someplace where you can refer to them regularly. Also, ask some of your loyal customers what benefits they are getting from buying from you. They might mention some things you haven't thought of. The idea is to always have in the front of your mind the reasons customers prefer to do business with you rather than your competitors. If salespeople have no idea why their customers do business with them, it's no wonder so many of them struggle with the issue of maximizing price!

Forget About Your Competition

Too much effort is lost worrying about what a competitor is charging. Forget about your competition. They are not you. It's time for you to be proud of who you are. People who second-guess themselves are never going to excel. Would you choose to follow someone who wasn't sure of himself ? How, then, can we expect customers to pay a premium price for anything if the salespeople they are dealing with are always second-guessing themselves?

Even if you sell commodity items, and no matter how price-sensitive the market is in which you compete, there are still reasons, besides price, that sway customers. So, as you develop your list of reasons why your customers buy from you, don't include price as one of them. Take your time to expand your list, and be sure to get input from your customers. When you ask them why they buy from you, you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you hear. More often than not, they will tell you positive news.

This book is designed to give you the tools you need to succeed. Confident people accept ownership of their situation, and they readily accept responsibility for who they are, as well as for their actions. More important, they are comfortable knowing they will be judged not only on what happens to them, but on how they choose to respond to what happens to them.


Excerpted from HIGH-PROFIT SELLING by Mark Hunter Copyright © 2012 by Mark Hunter. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 You Are Hurting Your Profit 5

What Is This Book Worth to You? 7

To Maximize Profit, Change How You View Your Customers 8

It's Time to Look in the Mirror 9

Your Confidence Drives Your Attitude 11

Can a Company Asking a Higher Price Really Win? 12

People Don't Buy-They Only Invest 13

Forget About Your Competition 15

Chapter 2 "Profit" Is Not a Dirty Word 17

Are You Chasing the Shiny Object? 18

Do You Think "Profit" Is a Dirty Word? 20

How Do We Define Profit? 21

What Does "Immediate Profit" Mean? 21

What Is Your Customer Worth Down the Road? 24

Calculate Your Customer's Profitability Sustainability Factor 26

A Big Order at the Wrong Price Isn't Worth It 28

Intellectual Profitability Adds Up 30

Minimize the Profit Takers 32

"Profit" Is a Beautiful Word 34

Chapter 3 Use Needs and Benefits to Command a Higher Price 36

Chasing the Shiny Object 38

Determining the Customer's Needs and Benefits 39

Separating Good Information from Bad 44

What We Can Learn About Needs and Benefits from Apple 45

Using Follow-Up Questions to Categorize a Customer's Needs 47

Needs? Benefits? What's the Difference, Anyway? 47

Chapter 4 Creating Real Value Using Your Price Point 54

Forming Real Value Around Price 55

Creating the Price Point 56

The Power of the Ultra-Price Package 57

Ultra-Prices and a Salesperson's Beliefs 60

The "No Negotiation" Philosophy 61

Sales Managers: Don't Empower Salespeople to Give Away Profit 63

Where Does the "No Negotiation" Policy Work Best? 64

Rules for an Effective "No Negotiation" Policy 65

Making the "No Negotiation" Policy Work, Despite So Many Rules 70

Using Time to Drive Value 71

Chapter 5 Prospecting That Works 74

Past Growth Doesn't Guarantee Future Growth 75

Finding New Customers Is Not an Optional Job Activity 76

Prospect or Suspect? Do You Know the Difference? 77

Is Prospecting Ingrained in Your Daily Routine? 77

Can't Prospect? Then You Can't Sell 78

What Is a Prospect? 79

Not All Prospects Are Created Equal 80

Assumptive vs. Inquisitive 81

Tactical Comments and Questions: The Price Squeeze 86

Strategic Questions Lead to Long-Term Relationships 87

Aim High When Prospecting 88

Make Prospecting Part of Your Daily Routine 88

Holiday Prospecting 89

Just Do It 92

Chapter 6 Sell More by Talking Less 93

How Professional Buyers Use Silence 94

Give Control to the Customer 95

How to Use Your Personality to Ask Questions 96

Questions That Work for You 97

How Much Time Do You Talk on a Sales Call? 98

Tactics Buyers Use to Speed Up the Sales Call 99

Why Salespeople Fail 100

An Example of Not Listening 100

Learn Your Customer's Language 102

The Best Follow-Up Questions 103

Put the Pride Aside: It's Costing You Money 103

Expand Your Question List 104

Do You Respect Your Customer? 105

The Two-Second Pause 106

Close Too Fast and You Lose Profit 108

The More the Customer Talks, the More You're Prepared for the Next Sale, Too 109

Keep Your Eye on the Prize 110

Chapter 7 Skip the Sales Presentation 112

Why Preparation Is Essential 115

Preparing a Sales Presentation Does Not Mean You Will Use It 116

Do You Know Your Presentation or Do You Know Your Content? 117

What About Skipping the Presentation on the Phone? 119

Always Respect Time 120

Developing Your Presentation 121

How Many Calls to Close a Sale? 122

Chapter 8 Leverage Knowledge to the Fullest 124

The Customer Is Seeking Knowledge, Too 126

Leveraging Knowledge 126

False Facts 127

How Do You Track Customer Information? 129

Visiting the Senior Officer 131

Using Information to Gather Opinions 132

Validating Information 133

The Power of Sharing Your Information 134

Knowledge Can Help Open the Next Sale 136

Knowledge vs. Information 136

Your Competitor May Have the Same Information 137

Your Knowledge Helps Create Trust 138

Your Knowledge Can Create a Long-Term Relationship 140

Chapter 9 Sell More Without Even Being There 141

China and the Sales Catalog 142

How the B2B Selling Process Has Changed 144

Putting Your Information Online 145

Getting the Right Information on the Internet 147

"Vendor Validation" 148

Becoming a Thought Leader 150

Time Well Spent 152

Chapter 10 Selling to the C-Suite 154

What Language Do They Speak? 155

Attributes Needed to Connect with the C-Suite 158

Connecting with the CEO Directly 163

The 12 × 12 Approach 165

Connecting with the CEO by Way of a Referral 169

Dealing with the Blockers 170

Meeting with the CEO 172

C-Suite Relationships Are Insurance Policies 174

C-Suites Are Research Departments 174

Chapter 11 How to Handle Price Objections 176

You Need to Be Blunt with the Customer 177

How Should You Respond to Objections? 179

Responding to the Request for a Reduction in Price 181

What Do You Do About the Persistent Customer? 184

Getting Customers to Focus on Their Needs, Not Your Price 186

The Customer Is in No Rush to Buy 189

Don't Try to Push the Customer with a Limited-Time Discount 191

Sell First, Negotiate Second 193

Chapter 12 Executing a Price Increase 194

The Ten-Step Process to Execute a Price Increase 195

Step 1: Know Your Strategy and What the Price Increase Is Going to Accomplish 197

Step 2: Sell the Objective of the Price Increase to People Inside the Company, Particularly the Sales Force 201

Step 3: Determine and Isolate the Customer's Key Benefits (They Help Sell the Price Increase) 202

Step 4: Understand the Customer's Decision-Making Timeline and How It May Impact Plans to Communicate the Price Increase 204

Step 5: Isolate Key Contacts Within the Customer's Company 205

Step 6: Develop Data and a Fact-Driven Point of View (FDPOV) 206

Step 7: Signal to the Customer the Expectation That a Price Increase Might Be Coming 207

Step 8: Formalize Expectations and Goals with the Sales Force for Each Customer 210

Step 9: Present the Price Increase to Customers and Gain Their Commitment 210

Step 10: Reinforce the Price Increase by Sharing the FDPOV 212

Ten Steps to More Profit 212

Chapter 13 Purchasing Departments and the Professional Buyer 214

Who Is the Professional Buyer? 216

The New Vendor 217

Understanding How the Buyer Operates 219

Warehouse Tours and the Buyer 220

Learning the Customer's Computer System 221

My Three Hours with a Buyer 222

Do Outside Meetings Include Any Risk for You? 224

Understanding a Buyer's Objectives 225

Vendor Letters and Requests 226

Increasing Your Margin on Friday Afternoon 227

Chapter 14 RFPs and RFQs: The Bidding Process 231

Are RFPs a Good Use of Your Time? 232

Benefits of the Small RFP 234

Writing the RFP Gives You the Upper Hand 235

Step 1: Determine Your Strategy 236

Step 2: Develop Your Minimum/Maximum Standards 243

Step 3: Develop Your Options 245

Step 4: Gain Information from the Customer and Others 246

Step 5: Respond and Get the Meeting 247

The Value of a Follow-Up Meeting 249

Bid Selection Renegotiation 249

Chapter 15 Position Yourself to Continue Earning High Profits 251

One Percent Continuous Improvement Process 253

Small Changes Equal Big Improvement 254

Your Windshield Is Talking to You 255

Recovering from the Bad Sales Call 257

Always Be Learning 258

Strategically Planning Your Week 259

Setting Weekly Goals to Build Off Your Successes 261

Recording Your Goals and Accomplishments 263

Furthering Your Knowledge and Expertise 265

Recommended Websites 265

Index 267

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