(By Alec Drake) We traditionally lean on product facts and benefits in sales to support value and associated pricing. Those product facts belong to you; unless the prospect takes ownership, they can lose their importance. The prospect owns perceptions, and if we can better influence perceptions, our value and resulting prices can lead to more agreement. How can we impact perceptions to improve appreciation for our value and support product pricing?
Is Pricing A Roadblock?
Sales and pricing systems in radio have evolved far beyond the early days of manager guesstimates and detailed spreadsheets. Today it’s common in large markets or major radio companies for internal proprietary tools or outside vendors to price inventory for sales managers. In smaller markets and with some independent owners, the prices still originate from the sales manager. No matter where the price comes from, we must manage price acceptance. In sales, we aim to raise the perceived value to match the price.
In the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Al Ries and Jack Trout list the “Law of Perception” as number four, stating that “Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions.” The chapter promotes, “The best product does not always win. It’s an illusion. There is no objective reality. There are no facts. All truth is relative. Relative to your mind or the mind of another human being.”
If truth is relative, prospects will find the advertising funds if the perceived value aligns with the product’s ability to solve their needs. Our primary job in sales is to manage perceptions over price, and the better you develop this skill, the more success you will experience. Price, as an objection, should become obsolete.
Six Ways To Build Positive Perceptions
- Pay attention to the mutual understanding of benefits (not features) and listen carefully so that the discovery call guides you toward an optimal solution.
- Discussing the creative campaign and activating promotional elements to support the advertising strategies are opportunities to build value.
- Keep your prospects engaged, learning, and recognizing value through the funnel journey as you build your closing stack for a presentation.
- Create a list of markers in your communication timeline for mini buy-ins. When do you introduce benefits for the most impact?
- Share examples of your success in working with other clients, and be open about the initial reluctance you had to overcome.
- Finally, remember that the price quote is a marketing element with a perceptual benchmark.
Managing perception is a 360-degree effort that begins before initial contact. First impressions, communication style, and points of product differentiation are critical to perceptions. The perception process relies on you defining the quality of your product, matching needs to appropriate solutions, your image as the product expert, and your reputation.
Changing the mind and perceptions of customers or prospects takes work, and we must use more than facts to build our case in support of value. People do not like to be wrong, so move to their perception side and find out what they think, how they feel, and what motivates them to spend time with you. Managing perceptions is a 360-degree process that starts before your first meeting. Learning more about human behavior and being less concerned about price will take your sales to new levels of success.
As President of Drake Media Group, Alec Drake focuses on revenue management and sales improvement strategies. You will find more helpful articles in his “Sales Success Library” at Drakemediagroup.com and can reach him at [email protected]
Thank you, Younes, for your comments and time in reading my article. It’s rewarding to know I can be helpful in sharing insights.
I came from SmartBrief on Sales newsletter. This is very helpful article. I found your six ways to change perceptions insightful and actionable.
Thank you Alec.
Really nice of framing the value proposition, Alec. As Arnie Rothschild so famously said, “People buy for their reasons, not yours.”
Hi Dianne, Thanks for the comment. Yes, Arnie had it right, and I learned a lot from his presentations and working relationship.