Yeah, But How Much Does it Cost ?

Dec. 28, 2000
undefinedThis article will take a look at some of the thorny issues of price and some techniques for working around common problems.

The first point to get out in the open is not to worry about price. A recent study of buying habits showed that only four percent of people surveyed said they make the decision to buy based on price alone. The vast majority buy based on a value decision. Further proof of the truth of this position is the fact that in every city there is a dealer who sells softeners for $4,000 and dealers who sell them for $900. In almost every case, the dealer who sells them for $4,000 sells more than the dealer who bases his marketing on low price.

The important part isn't the price, but rather the story of what the equipment can do and why it is a better value. It seems to me that many dealers who concentrate on price are so sure the low price will get the sale that they forget to build up the value. The dealer who knows his equipment is expensive generally spends more time justifying value because he feels he has to.

Attitude Determines Altitude

Another interesting thing about price is that what we think determines a lot of how the price is perceived. If you think your products are expensive, this will come across to your customers. When they ask how much it costs, try phrases like, "That's the absolute best part . . all the equipment we talked about tonight is only $3,100 or about $45 per month." Notice how this phrasing makes the customer feel you are very confident that the equipment is a fantastic value. This feeling will rub off on them. Notice too, that we suggest you always add the monthly payment at the end of the full payment. This is because most people make their decision based on how much they will be saving each month.

Don't Discuss Price Too Early

Never answer price questions at the very beginning. You need to raise their interest before you tell them the price. So what do you do if the customer starts asking about price too early? Answer with a range or a question. For example, let's say you have just arrived at the home and the customer says, "Never mind all that demo stuff, the guy from Acme Water was just here so all we want to know is how much is your equipment?" If you answer now you will be on the defensive, so try answering with a question or a range. You could say something like "We have 23 models to choose from. Did you want the model that looks after ferric iron or ferrous iron?" Hopefully they will say they don't know and you can start testing the water to see which model is right for them. You can also reply with a range. "Sir, we have equipment from $199 to $4500; let's see which one will do the job for you and your family." Remember never to discuss price until you are ready. When are you ready? When you have made them fall in love with the benefits of the equipment.

Telephone Danger

Staying away from price is particularly important when you get those incoming calls. They always ask "How much are your softeners?" If you answer you are dead, so use the same technique we discussed above. Answer with a question they cannot answer such as "We have 22 models, so I know which one to recommend, what is your TDS level?" Keep asking questions until they say they don't know the answer to one or two. Then throw in a range and ask for the appointment. You might say something like, "All I can say is that we have equipment from $199 to $6,000 depending on what is in your water. I can recommend the right model-the one that will do the job for you-when can I come out and find out what is in your water?"

Know Your Competition and Carry Proof

When you finally do get down to price and they raise a price objection, you have to know your competition and carry proof of what you are telling them. You can't just say "Ours is the finest equipment available-believe me." They will not believe you. You may have to carry brochures, articles, contracts and even pieces of equipment to get the sale.

There is a brand sold by department stores that is very inexpensive. I carried the head and valve with me for many years so I could prove why ours was a better value. Showing value is not running down the competition. Remember that there would never be a Mercedes, Cadillac or BMW sold if salespeople could not show they were a better value than a Hyundai, Geo, etc.Remember that what's in your head and heart about prices and value makes the biggest difference in whether you can convince others. Be confident and convinced. Use questions and ranges. Always quote the monthly payment as well as the full price. Carry proof of your value. Concentrate on value as opposed to price.

Try these techniques and price will never be as big an issue. You'll make more and feel better knowing you are providing your clients with a superior value. ·

About the Author: Carl Davidson is president of Sales & Management Solutions, which provides sales and management training designed exclusively for the water equipment industry. For more than 13 years, he has helped more than 1,400 companies in seven countries. For a free demonstration tape and catalog, contact the company at 800-941-0068. See its website at