The Price is “The Price” Isn’t It?

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Whether you’re buying or selling, price often matters. The number one thing you hear in sales is that people want to buy their products/services at the “lowest possible price” (which is why sales people often claim they need to lower their prices for customers). In the meanwhile, pricing executives want to sell at the highest price to cover costs and maximize revenue. But does that mean they prefer it all at once or through payments-over time. So, “the price” rarely is a simple hard-and-fast dollar amount. Many things affect it and “it’s all in the presentation”.

Imagine you want to buy a new car. There’s the sticker price; the “sales” price (especially offered during the Xmas holiday season”; the negotiable price you can get from the salesperson; the price listed in discount buying guides/websites. There’s the cash price, the leasing price and the bank-loan price. Each form addresses a different need of the buyer. You must understand the buyers/sellers’ needs and values before determining the most effective form in which to extend a pricing offer.

Decisions are rarely made in a vacuum; the context needs to be taken into account. People buy more than the features of the physical car; they want the image it projects (e.g., sporty, affluent, family focused); ease-of-use over time (e.g., what’s the warranty, customer service quality, repair convenience and quality, etc.) Salesman’s flexibility and incentives to sell change over time (e.g., end of month and seasonal sales quotas). And, both buyers and sellers compare all these things for comparative products, time periods, etc.

Guiding Decision-making
With so many things affecting “price”, how do you make an effective presentation? As we’ve discussed in this column, the answers are complex, but doable:

  • Understand the needs of the audience
  • Tailor the message the meet those needs
  • Be succinct and use powerful words/graphics
  • Organize the material to guide the decision-making process of the other person. Acknowledge the logic and emotional issues of importance; structure the presentation to match the process by which the person is going to make the decision.
  • Exude your “leader-presence”, because people want to follow trustworthy leaders. Do so by demonstrating, integrity, authenticity, humility, confidence, passion for serving the customer.

The Job of a Presentation is to Communicate Value
Buyers allegedly want the lowest possible price; yet the reality is that virtually no-one actually buys clothing, homes, food, etc. that cost the absolute lowest dollar cost. Instead we want value, and our decision to buy and sell is determined by that conclusion. Whether you’re selling or buying, it’s not just the dollar-value of the price but also the form and context of the presentation that communicates value determines the outcome. So, before you assume the price is to high or low for the other person to act, determine who you can change the presentation to communicate the values that the other person really wants. When it resonates with his/her immediate and long-term needs and wants, you’ll close the deal.

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