Lazy Salespeople Lead with Price

By / 11 months ago

Smart salespeople are partners who help their customers succeed.

When prospecting for new business, it has been my experience that salespeople are most likely to prematurely introduce the subject of price. Yet price is only one of the considerations when making a buying decision.

Is what you are selling identical to what your competitors are selling? Are your people, your service, your terms of sale, your return policy and your knowledge of construction all identical to your competitors?

Lazy salespeople will almost always bring up price when they see an order slipping through their fingers. It takes no brains to cut the price, but it takes skill to defend your prices.

Rule: Don’t assume your price is too high even when a prospect tells you your price is too high. When you hear a contractor say your prices are high, the odds are he is testing your resolve. And why shouldn’t he? This tactic has worked for him so often in the past.

Lazy salespeople who get down on the ground and roll around in the dirt with price buyers need to wise up and realize that they are being used. So get smart, spend your energy sharing innovative ideas with your price-buyer customers, ideas that make them more money than they can make beating up salespeople over a few dollars here and there.

Buyers who focus solely on price are lazy, too. If they spent half as much time improving their sales and marketing skills as they do trying to negotiate lower prices, I’ll bet they would see their gross margins increase and their sales grow, as well.

Fact: When a prospect responds to a salesperson with a demand for a price before he will give him a few minutes of his time, the contractor believes that particular salesperson has little else of value to offer but “price and product.”

It is my firm belief that it’s the salesperson’s job to enlighten the prospect; that is, demonstrate that he has ideas, knowledge and experience that are more valuable than a lower price. Imagine sharing ideas with your prospects that will enable them to attract more leads, reduce jobsite waste or enhance their homes’ curb appeal. Salespeople who begin sharing profit-improving ideas with their prospects find that all of a sudden their prospects are less price conscious. When a prospect respects a salesperson as a consummate professional, he doesn’t beat the salesperson up on price.

The reason I know this to be true is because when I first began selling I was a far cry from a consummate professional; I was a professional quoter. That’s all I knew to do. I had very little knowledge to share. I knew little about my prospect’s business. I was a product and price kind of salesperson.

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Bill Lee

Bill Lee has nearly 40 years of experience in the construction supply industry. A seminar leader and consultant, he is the author of two books: Gross Margin and 30 Ways Managers Shoot Themselves in the Foot. You can reach Bill at, or 800.277.7888.