Every seller’s worst nightmare. You get the lead, talk to it, bring it hot cocoa, you warm it up. Everything is going along nicely, the two of you are having a great time, the lead is moving through the funnel,…
…only for the deal to fall apart when you present the price.
“Not again,” you think, marking the contact with red color in Excel. You take a moment, look through the window, thinking where it all went wrong.
You take your time, write the offer. Not just a generic, template offer, you put your work into it. You learn to use Canva and describe the final product, couple that with nice mockups. In the end, you have an amazon bestseller-like PDF, that you proudly show to the client. And you never hear from them again. Or they skip the first 2 pages that took you three days to do and go directly to the price.
“You want HOW MUCH?”
I can find a thousand examples in the B2C world as well. “$20 bucks for a book that will teach me how to get more leads and improve my conversion rates? Pfff, I am going to wait for a sale. After all, I already spent my monthly budget on the new iPhone.”
You would think that the human brain would understand the irony of that, but, no… it doesn’t.
See, we are not reasonable human beings. We are driven by emotions and only use logic to justify our illogical decisions.
So when everybody is objecting to your prices, you come to the logical conclusion that you have a price problem. You don’t. You have an understanding problem; You have a positioning problem.
The price objection just means that the customer doesn’t see the value in the deal you are offering. What the client needs to pay is – in their eyes – bigger than what they are getting in return. Basically, they are getting screwed. Or that’s what they think.
Does this mean that I have a crappy product?
In a word? No.
It just means that your and your customer’s views are not aligned. It means that your client doesn’t understand your product. And while having a positioning problem isn’t the best thing it will happen to you today, it’s a nicer problem to have than actually having a crappy product. Crappy product means that you need to go back to the drawing board and do it all over again. A poor positioning means that you have to spend some time thinking about your product.
What we usually do to solve a positioning problem
See? Easy. Just need to think. We can do that, right? Wrong.
What entrepreneurs usually do when one of their products is poorly positioned is improve the product. Well, guess what? The product’s positioning won’t change when you add a feature or two. You can’t put lipstick on a pig and say it’s Jessica Alba. (I mean you can, but,…?)
STOP improving your product to solve an understanding problem. It’s difficult to add something to a product and suddenly make customers understand its value. It’s like Henry Ford would be building a car, right. He would make the chassis, add some doors, windows, a rear spoiler and show it to your customers.
And the client would be like: “I don’t get it, man, what the fuck am I supposed to do with that? Push it down the dirt road?”
And Ford would be like: “Right, forgot, here are the wheels and the engine, you can drive around instead of riding a horse.”
And the client would have an epiphany: “Woooow, mate, cool ride. I get it now.”
That’s just not going to happen, ok? The problem isn’t that you forgot the wheels. The problem is that the client is expecting a horse while you are giving him a car. So no matter what the price is, your client is not going to pay. Because the client doesn’t get it.
How to make the customer “get it”?
The trick is to really understand the customer, his point of view, his issues. Once you understand your client’s problem and what kind of information he has, you can quickly drive him to the “AHA” moment, which is crucial for the sale.
Or, if you want it in horse terms: The problem is that your customer is comparing the car with the horse. You can instead lean on another product – a carriage. That way it’s easier to explain the product to the customer:
Ford: “This is a car. A car is like a carriage but doesn’t need a horse to run. It runs because of this thingy in the front, called the engine, that doesn’t get tired, so you can drive day and night, coming to your mistress’ house faster. And because there is no horse, the horse won’t die halfway through the journey, so you won’t have to explain to your wife why you are a horse short. See? Benefits.”
Client: “Where do I sign?”
Weird dialect aside, the crucial step is to explain the product to the customer using comparisons he understands. In this case, your product – the car – is closer to the carriage than to a horse, because the carriage already has wheels and carries people to their destinations.
How to take care of the positioning problem
Step 1: Talk to your customers
What you need to do first when you have a positioning problem is talk to your customers. And not just any customers. You need your best-fit clients. Customers who get your product and pay for it as well. Step one would be to create a list of your perfect-fit customers.
Step 2: Understand customers’ problems and your value
Talk to people on the list and understand their problems better. Yeah, I know it’s a pain in the ass, but you need to know how your customers explain their problem. What words do they use? How do they explain their problem? How do they explain your product? What value do they get from your product?
Step 3: Adjust your focus
Use the knowledge you get from step 2 and put it to use. Adjust your messaging, sales process, website copy,… to bring your product closer to your clients. To make them get your value. Use their vocabulary, focus on the value that your perfect-fit clients are getting from your product and eliminate that price barrier.
Want a more in-depth look at the steps to remove the price barrier? Let’s talk.
Removing the price objection is not a problem you remove with a revolution. Focus on small, incremental changes and in time you will be able to charge waaay too much for a device that has the exact same call and SMS functionalities it had for years. But it comes with 3d touch and the icons have nicer border radiuses, so it’s better.
Kidding aside, Apple knows exactly what kind of value they are bringing to their customers. That’s why they can set their price just right. And people are prepared to pay that price.
And by talking to your clients, understanding their problems, and how they see your value better, you will be able to do what Apple does. Charge what you deserve.
And in the next meeting, you will know to offer tea instead of cocoa. You will mark your client with green color after the sale, looking out of the window, reflecting on your success.
It’s an art, really.
TL ; DR
Are customers often objecting your “high” prices, but you have already reduced your margin to a minimum? The logical conclusion makes you think you have a price problem. You don’t. You probably have a positioning problem. Reducing your price won’t solve your problem. Talking to your clients and understanding their problem will.
In order to solve your positioning problem, you need to:
– Talk to your customers
– Understand your customers’ problems better
– Understand what value you provide to your best-fit customers and adjust your focus (copy, messaging, sales process,…) based on what you learn so your new customers can get it as well.
Hey. My name is Andrej, I am a growth marketer talking about positioning a lot. But hey, it’s important. Positioning is the basis of your marketing and sales. Flop that and you will flop your company. That’s why I created a portal of free resources on digital marketing and positioning. Access it here: RESOURCES
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+ get in touch with me on Linkedin, I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Thanks.