Selling From a Position of Power
Once you build trust with your clients, price becomes less of an issue.
Selling From a Position of Power by Meridith Elliot Powell
Competition, price sensitivity, and lack of consumer loyalty are a few of the many challenges today’s financial advisors face. Winning a new client takes a keen understanding of not only how this economy has changed, but of how today’s clients have changed, as well.
And make no mistake, today’s clients have changed. They are more demanding, better educated, more price-sensitive and more value-driven. If your clients are questioning the price of your services, that is a sign that cost may be the only value you are offering.
Think about it. Why do people buy organic produce, pay for a flight upgrade, or buy bottled water? These products are more expensive than their unqualified counterparts, but people pay more for them because they perceive their value. They know they can get a similar product for less, but they would rather pay more and get the value that’s meaningful to them. These products sell trust and value, and the sellers focus on these qualities instead of on the selling price. Thinking this way can improve your services and help you attract and retain clients. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Build rapport from a place of power. Focusing on cost at the start of a client meeting can derail the entire process. So why, if you would never begin a conversation there, would you derail the conversation by defaulting to price later? The truth is that most of us were taught to sell from a place of weakness instead of from a place of power, and too many companies have created environments where the reward is for quantity, not quality. Today, there is no room for a portfolio of clients who are not willing to meet your price and pay a fair value for your services. To win in this economy, you need to focus on prospects who understand and appreciate the value of the relationship they have with you and are willing to pay for it. To attract and retain these types of clients, your focus needs to be on building trust and adding value first, with price coming later.
- Make price a mere detail. Your goal should always be to demonstrate how your services will make an impact, solve a problem, enhance your prospect’s business, or give him peace of mind. You did not get into this business because you are passionate about low pricing. You had an idea or concept you believed would help someone get what he wanted, or you wanted to take on the challenge of delivering a service. That is a big part of the value you offer. Once your customer is able to see and appreciate that value, price becomes secondary and is no longer a deal breaker.
- Remember that timing is everything. Build trust before value. Build value before price. If customers ask you early on about price, validate their question. Let them know that you cannot discuss price until you fully understand what they need and how you can help them. All too often we undersell or oversell a prospect, because we did not take the time to uncover the depth of his need. To truly service your clients and help them ensure they are comparing apples to apples when comparing your services to those of your competitor, you need to put value on the table before you discuss dollars. Otherwise, it may appear as if you are just providing a number and then trying to justify it.
If your client trusts you, if you have invested the time to identify his issues, and if you have fully explained the solution you can provide, then he will welcome your pricing because he understands his return on investment.
This style of selling ensures there will be a ready market for your services—no matter where your price point happens to be.
You’ve spent money, assumed risk and put forth significant effort to be in a position to help your client in the first place. You should not feel wrong about asking a fair value for your contribution to the marketplace.
In this case, what your client is paying for includes the most important services you offer— trust and value.
- Move slowly. Since what you are truly selling is trust and value, you need to accept the fact that it will take some time to win the confidence of your prospect in order to make him feel comfortable about making a purchase. Trust takes time to develop. People are naturally cautious about accepting information that is being presented to them by someone they don’t know very well. This is especially true in today’s business climate where some marketing campaigns cross the fine line between crafting an appealing public image and providing false advertising. As a result, respect and trust are precious commodities, well worth taking the time to cultivate.
The more often a prospect interacts with you and your staff, the more invested he will become in maintaining a positive relationship with your company.
When the time comes to decide where to buy the services he needs, he will choose to do business with a company he believes he has a connection to. Since many decisions are made to meet an immediate need, starting the process of establishing a relationship and developing trust with a potential client is usually neither practical nor possible at that point.
If you have already taken the steps to build trust and have demonstrated that you can provide value with your services, you have created a scenario in which it will be difficult for your competition to even get a seat at the table.
Sales through service
As an advisor, helping people is the way you live. You need to be always listening, always helping others find solutions, and always putting the needs of prospects and clients above your own.
When you sell this way, sales take on a life of their own, and price becomes less of an issue as your clients choose you, your advocates refer business to you, and you gain confidence from selling from a position of power instead of a position of need.
Stand out from the competition by adopting a strategy that allows you to keep your focus firmly on your customers and what you can do for them. By creating an atmosphere of trust and partnership with your prospects and clients, you will ensure that your expertise is the first thing that comes to mind when it is time to make serious buying decisions.
Meridith Elliott Powell, author of Winning in The Trust & Value Economy, is a keynote speaker and business growth and development expert. She helps organizations create cultures of employee innovation— ownership at every level and profi ts at every turn. For more information, visit www.meridithelliottpowell.com.
This article appeared in Advisor Today.