Sales and Marketing

A Lesson in Sales…

One of the hardest questions to answer to a prospective new client is the dreaded, “How much does it cost?”

From a Mouse that Lives in a Castle

One of the hardest questions to answer to a prospective new client is the dreaded, “How much does it cost?” This question can send chills down the spine of every business owner, especially if they hear an employee spout pricing in the first 30 seconds of a phone call without asking any questions first. Grant you, this does not apply for every business, but if your business has a lot of value that is not inherently obvious to everyone, you must read on.

The Problem
I used to work at a large health and wellness organization with 27 locations throughout Central Florida. New membership numbers began to dwindle and management could not figure out what was happening. I began listening in on incoming phone calls and, after about 15 minutes, I quickly recognized the problem.

People would call in, and their first question would be, “How much is a membership?” Immediately the employee would tell them the pricing, and that would be the end of the phone call, as our membership price was very steep when blindly compared to other exercise facilities.

Value Proposition
The consumer on the other end of the phone didn’t know that membership to one of our facilities granted you access to all 27 locations or that we had state-of-the-art equipment, hundreds of fun classes, numerous activities centered around children and families, and pools that would rival the top water parks in Orlando.  If people do not fully understand all that your business has to offer, then you need to tell them before you give them your rates and they hang up the phone.

Meeting Consumer Needs
This isn’t about diverting customers’ questions – this is about meeting their needs. The way we trained our staff to answer the phones was in a way that led the conversation down a path; a path that met the consumer’s needs and answered his or her questions. When we did training with our staff on how to properly answer the phones, our membership numbers began to grow quickly, and the best part was people’s needs were being met.

The Five-Foot Mouse that Lives in a Castle
Today, whenever someone calls me and asks how much our services cost, I begin to ask questions. If he or she continues to push on pricing, I like to give the following analogy. Imagine you had no clue what Disney World was. You had no idea what a magical, fairytale experience it creates for children and their families. Suppose I told you that you would spend $5,000 to enjoy a week in the middle of the Florida swamp, in 99-degree weather with 99 percent humidity, to see a five-foot mouse that lives in a castle. You would tell me I was completely INSANE, because you don’t yet understand the value of Disney World. It is our job as business owners to make sure that we are educating our customers so that we can give them the absolute best service possible and meet and exceed all of their needs.

The Solution
I know what you’re thinking: how do you do that? The answer is simple. Stop focusing on trying to make a sale and begin focusing on how to ask the right questions to find out what your customer’s needs are.

This will divert the focus from the truly insignificant subject of pricing to the very significant subject of identifying their needs and addressing how you plan to remedy each of those needs. Oftentimes, we think we are focusing on the right things when in reality we couldn’t be further from where we need to be.

Ask great questions, invite prospects in for a one-on-one tour of your business, and reassure them that you are going to educate them on everything they need to know. When this shift happens, you will have customers who are raving fans and sales that will surprise you.



Scott Brazdo is the CEO and co-founder of Black Tie Digital Marketing, BlackTieDigital.com

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