Overcoming Price Objections (Part I)

Last week, FEI sales leader Zoot taught young salesman Ganymede how asking thoughtful, probing questions is an important part of selling. This week, Zoot introduces his apprentice to another powerful selling skill: the ability to handle price objections effectively. Remember, fire = print.

Every Wednesday after work, Zoot and Ganymede exercise at Olympians Gym. Health-conscious Ganymede focuses on cardio, while vain Zoot prefers to sculpt his shoulders, chest and arms. This week, After Ganymede finished a half-hour session on the Gladiator Combat Simulator, Zoot asked him for a spot on the bench press.

Ganymede stood behind his friend and mentor, who was stacking weight after weight on the barbell. “I’ve been encountering a lot of pricing objections on sales calls recently,” Ganymede said.

Zoot put the last weight in place and lay on the bench. “I know it can be frustrating to hear time and again that FEI’s doing everything fine, but we’re just too expensive. But the last thing we should do is slash our prices just to keep every torch- and match-making machine running. Our torch and match prices are arrived at carefully, and cutting prices suggests that they’re artificially inflated to begin with.

“Plus, discounting is a slippery slope. If we reduce our price once to please a customer, they’ll know they can influence our pricing and will behave as such. And if we return prices to their original levels, price shoppers will just go somewhere else.”

Zoot removed the barbell from the uprights and lowered it to his chest. “Think of pricing pressure as this barbell. We could give in to this pressure and let it crush us. Or…” [Zoot lifted the barbell high above his head] “we could counter it with our own strength!”

Ganymede didn’t look like he was following the metaphor, so Zoot elaborated. “The best way to handle price objections is to shift the focus from price to the other things we do well.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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  • Brian

    I have to respectfully disagree and I’m most likely going to be bashed about it but that is OK :).

    First off your examples aren’t the best.

    When dealing with torches and matches of course you want the best because it is a safety issue. Never heard of someone dying because they got a bad business card.

    Secondly Skin care is a consumer item totally different world than printing.

    The fact of the matter is that businesses are all about cutting costs right now. They are concerned with price.

    Sure I can tell a customer that we have faster turnaround times, and we have better quality, etc.

    But you know what the printing vendor they are already using is turning their work around fast and their quality is great too.

    Business owners want their printing done cheap, fast and without mistakes.

    If your competitor is already doing that how are you supposed to gain clients? By asking them questions? Sure sometimes that works but let’s be honest, if the customer is already getting what they want what is going to convince them to switch vendors? You are going to have to save them money and make it worthwhile to them to switch over.

    You can’t compare consumer products or something that involves safety of life to printing sales and gaining more business in printing. It’s apples and oranges.

    Sure you can just hold your pricing and refuse to do work for less but all you will end up with is a printing company that is selling all of their equipment at auction because they had no work.

    I’d be curious as to what your suggestions are to getting the customers’ focus off of price.


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