Facing price objections? It’s because your buyers are focusing on Inputs not Outputs.

And, it’s because YOU haven’t had a “case for change” conversation with them – where you’ve coached the buyer to articulate THEIR business case and personal win.

Fellow speaker and advisor Noah Fleming wrote an article recently about how buyers can reject investing in their business even when it is clearly in their best interest, because they’re focused on the Input (Cost, Hours) instead of the Output ($ Impact, Outcomes, Results, Hitting Goals). You can read the article here.

I’m here to share with you, that the responsibility for the rejection lies with you as the salesperson. You see, buyers often get sucked into focusing on the features, functions and price of a solution, product or service and make their decisions based on those criteria.

In doing so, they lose sight of what they’re really trying to achieve when introducing something new into their system; that they’re looking to improve in some way and that the improvement delivers order of magnitude value to them, beyond the price of what they’re buying.

Below are three examples from Noah Fleming‘s follow up blog post to the one mentioned above (you can read it here), where buyers have realized that they’re focused on the wrong criteria for buying.

One President of a company shared this response:

“We were recently talking to a company that was going to provide us with some marketing design services. One of my direct reports asked almost immediately, ‘What’s your hourly rate?’

I was nodding along when I remembered this Tidbit, and gently shut that line of questioning down, because I realized that you were right – the hourly rate didn’t matter.

What mattered was what we’d be left with, and what the total cost was. 

Even in the last week, I’ve seen so many subtle areas of input vs. output thinking that I’m excited to be able to catch more and more, so we can all stop focusing on the irrelevant things and instead focus on the results.”

Another wrote: 

“Thank you for bringing this up. It seems to be commonplace in our industry to always focus on the inputs over the outputs. One of the most valuable things we’ve done is tried to identify how many times we’ve used this type of thinking to make decisions over the past few months, and we’re also applying it to decisions we’re currently considering.

Looking back, here’s an example we found. We spent months trying to choose a vendor to supply us with software for our customer service department. As we looked back, we realized that a lot of time was spent on the cost per month, cost per user, and so forth. What we missed was that we never really figured out how and when to determine if the system had been successful at all! In the end, we chose based on price and features. 

I realize we still have no way of knowing if we made the best decision, but we’re living with it! Hindsight is 20/20 they say!”

This came from a startup founder… 

“I found myself focusing in on hourly rates for creative design work in getting a logo created for my company. I had 30 applications in front of me, and I was going back and forth based on their quoted hourly rates… There was one designer who had pitched me a flat fee service, and I realized after reading this tidbit that’s all that I really cared about… So long as it was good, I didn’t care if it took somebody 15 seconds of work or 15 days of work, and in fact, I’d prefer 15 seconds because I could start using it earlier.”

See, buyers – even very senior ones, are humans too! They make mistakes and errors of judgement just as much as salespeople do.

And that’s because most of them have never been taught how to build a “case for change” or build a business case for a purchase.

A highly effective and simple way of guiding your buyer to build their own business case is to ask a series of questions, like the simplified ones below.

Salesperson: “What are looking to impact by having a conversation with me?”

Buyer: “I’m looking to improve our sales growth”

Salesperson: “Which particular aspect of sales growth specifically?”

Buyer: “Proposal to win rate.”

(Insert questions and conversation around what they sense is causing the low win rate and what their sense of what their sales people should stop, start and continue doing, while sharing your insights and experience on this topic)

Salesperson: “OK, tell me, what are your proposal win rates today – and what would you like them to be?”

Buyer: “They’re X% today and I want to get to $Y%.”

Salesperson: “And in what timeframe?”

Buyer: “In the next 12 months.”

Salesperson: “Tell me, in dollars, what will that % increase mean in terms of revenue to your business?”

Buyer: “It will mean an additional $XXX,XXX for the year.”

Salesperson: “What will you do with/how will you deploy that additional revenue?”

Buyer: “I’ll be able to invest that in XYZ.”

Salesperson: “And how will that impact your objectives?”

Buyer: “I’ll be able to grow so much faster and achieve my growth target of X faster.”

Salesperson: “May I ask, if you do achieve all the outcomes we’ve discussed, what’s the personal win for you?” (Getting to Personal Win is what the best of the best aim for and get as it truly serves your clients best interest)

Buyer: “I’ll be able to Y (feel like I’m winning/buy the cottage/retire happy/support my team.” (Pun, intended. The Personal Win is an articulation of their “why” or real motive(s) for buying)

You now have the Business Outputs/Impacts/Results and Personal Output/Impact/Result. Here lies GOLD!

What do you think is more influencing, the customer sharing their own business case and motives for buying, or you telling them what the ROI of working with you will be?

If you said the former, you’re correct.

Sales people who tell the the customer what ROI they will get is the equivalent of “let me tell you how handsome/beautiful I am.” It ain’t effective and it isn’t believed.

In conclusion, if you want to avoid price objections, focus on guiding your buyer to articulate their own business case and motives for buying. You’ll both get what you want that way.

If you’d like to discuss this topic, get in touch.

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Matt Conway

CEO & Principle at Matthew Conway
If you're a CEO or Sales Leader reading this and you want to fill your pipeline with quality opportunities, win more deals and reduce sales cycles by as much as 6x, then perhaps it's time for a chat?

If you want to learn more, feel free to email me at matt@matthewconway.com or call me on +1 647-402-2096.
Matt Conway
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