I had an interesting conversation with a buyer yesterday. I made the suggestion that I thought that they were underinvesting in the result they need. She agreed that they were underinvesting. Then she said this: “We’d pay more if a salesperson could connect the paying more to how they get us better results. But they don’t make that connection for us, and we can’t sell it.”
What’s interesting? They know they need to pay more. What’s even more interesting? They need your help to do so.
The Vicious Cycle
When you propose your solution without connecting the difference in investment (your higher price) to how you produce greater results, you make it difficult for your dream client to agree to that price. If you don’t differentiate, and if you don’t demonstrate how the greater investment translates to greater results, you fail to make this connection for your prospect.
Your clients, recognizing no differentiation, default to deciding on price. They offer you the business at a lower price, and you give them what they bargained for, a lesser result. Then, you aren’t differentiated, you don’t solve their problem as well as you might would you had the money, and your client’s dissatisfaction remains. Now you are just another vendor.
There is a flight to quality of price happening right now. Your clients need better results, and they are more and more willing to pay for those results. Here are some ideas about breaking out of the vicious cycle and into a more virtuous cycle.
You do things different from your competitors. Some of the different things you do are what makes a difference for your clients. These differences require an investment, and it’s one of the reasons that you have a higher price.
If you want to capture a higher price to support producing a better outcome, you have to provide this differentiation. You have to explain these differences, and you have to explain why they are worth paying more to obtain. Without differentiation, you are easily commoditized.
Connect the Investment to the Result
To capture the price you need to produce greater results, you need to demonstrate how that investment is directly tied those results. How does a higher price result in lower costs? What does that investment allow you to do? Answering these questions is how you get out of the commodity box.
The more directly you can tie the greater investment to the ability to produce results, the better chance you have a capturing the price you need to deliver those results.
It’s easier to make this case for a greater investment (a higher price) if you can provide proof. If you have generated better results for your clients, then you need to show your dream client those results. If you can give them concrete metrics, a way to measure that improvement, you can make a more compelling case.
Remember, clients have to sell your proposal within their own organizations. Without providing them with the ability to sell your proposal, they won’t have an easy time explaining why they are proposing paying more.
When All Else Fails, Bet!
When you can’t reach an agreement on a greater investment for a greater return, then it sometimes makes sense to bet. You produce the better result, and you get the higher price. Or, you produce the greater result, or you give your client back part of your client’s payment.
As we continue to move towards owning a greater amount of the outcomes that we sell, this is more and more common. It gives you shared ownership in the outcome, and it eliminates your client’s risk.
Your clients are underinvesting. You have to help them spend more to get the result they really need.
Why are some of your prospective clients underinvesting?
How do you help them justify spending more?
How do you differentiate your offering in a way that makes clear how those differences are worth paying more to obtain?
What proof can provide that makes it easier to say yes to a higher price?