Selling Value over Price

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
Benjamin Franklin

One of the most common conversations I have with CEOs and company owners is how to get their sales teams to focus on value rather than price.

Selling value is a major challenge for companies in Australia as the cost of doing business is high, productivity is (generally) low and consumers are extremely well informed.

There are several ways to deal with this:

  • build the value into your product or service;
  • ensure you hire people with the right mindset;
  • develop, train and coach them consistently;
  • challenge and reward them;
  • lead by example.


Many years ago my wife & I bought a second hand car – the salesman was sleazy offering this and cutting that, I should have been more weary but my wife loved the car and despite my gut screaming at me I yielded and paid $15,000 for the car. Two years, a reconditioned engine, a new gearbox & $12,000 later we traded the vehicle for $3,000 – it still makes me angry nearly 20 years later.

Earlier this year we needed to buy another car – we visited about 10 used car places including one where we felt very comfortable with the sales person and went back three times. On the last visit he had almost exactly the vehicle we were after with a price tag of $17,990 on it; my wife loved the car (as did I) so I backed my self to negotiate it for a few grand less. I started at $15,000, increased to $16,000, then $16,500; to cut a long story short we paid $17,990. The salesman was extremely respectful but stood his ground, as a trainer of sales people I loved it – he had the confidence, understood his product and knew his customer, I was so impressed I’d buy another vehicle off him tomorrow.

The other day I was running a workshop on why people make decisions – it was pretty straightforward as two of the team had been on holidays recently and we ran through why they chose Hawaii & Korea – they came up with something like 20 answers and only went to price after prompting, they made it too easy. It’s very interesting that when people buy they don’t necessarily exhibit the same behaviours as when they sell.

I am not one for paying more than I have to but as marketing guru Zig Ziglar says “People buy off people they like, know and trust.”

Charlie Pidcock

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