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I've been in business for 10 years and am keeping busy making a great product that I am proud to represent. However I always find it hard when I see my competition selling a much lesser quality product and get questions for potential customers about why mine is so much more expensive.
I can list many examples of why mine is worth the extra cost but as you know price is sometimes king.
How do you go about pointing out the benefits of your product without putting the competition down.... Or sounding like an arrogant ass.
Buckley used to use a quote from someone:
"Well I'm sure they know the value of their product."
I have had the same problem as well. I positioned my product as the most expensive of my category. I would tell vendors and customers that my competition makes a fine product, however I make a great product. Then proceed to explain the finer points of my product line. If people still look at price as the determining factor, I ask them if they would like to ever buy a Acura, Lexus, Mercedes or similar type car. Invariably they answer yes. Then I ask why. They tell me how great the quality of the car is. Exactly, I tell them. A Kia or Yugo will get you to the store as well as those but you buy the more expensive one due to quality. So..... Most of the time, I make the sale.
Also along that line, I also now make a lower cost line that I rolled out with a different name. Still make the high end products but also now make a lower end product as well. Now I catch the customers looking for quality and others looking for price. I have not reduced the amount of the higher priced products being made, so the lower end products are extra sales.
I always try to point out something in particular that my product or my service will do, that the competitor can't, at the lower price. I usually determine this by asking questions and then addressing a need, then asking if the competitor will address the issue in the same way. You have to know your competition to do this without being presumptuous or getting caught making a false claim. For instance most of my competitors will not install in a manner that allows tilt windows to work. I point out that our methods will allow the windows to fully function. I also mention the customer paid dearly for that feature, and they expect it to still be operational. I also say "but then I am sure you already know all that"? Usually the customer replies that the competitor never mentioned that. Still don't get them all, but it sure helps show why there is a difference in prices.
I made sure to never make negative comments about my competition. I would make a comment about my quality, but always preface that with a statement that they will be that final judge of any statements about quality. What I would stress is that I am in this for the long haul, and a reasonable profit was needed to continue my business model. I think people are more aware these days about making a living wage, and I always stress that myself and my employees have families that need to be provided for. I always provided plenty of references. If you are doing well, keep track of the competition, but don't worry about their pricing. Worry about the efficiency and work processes of your shop so your profit stays where you need it.
I have been to a few sales seminars which lasted for 2 days each and they were quite intense and quite expensive. The key is practicing what they teach. Maybe a Dale Carnegie type deal. But if they don't do a lot of drilling than pass on their sales course.
The thing I remember is that there is a sequence that the prospect buys into. It cannot be skipped. I think it was they buy off on:
IOW if they don't buy off on you they are not going to buy any of the subsequent steps. So if you are having trouble getting them to buy at the price, you actually need to go to the previous step which would be the product.
Another good thing to know is that people have an emotional reason for buying it is good to know what that reason is. Or as John Elvrum used to say sell the sizzle. The trick is in knowing what that reason is as it will be pretty consistent for your product.
John used to ask what business are you really in? IOW are you selling kitchens or are you selling elegance to the ladies, are you selling cars or are you selling image, are you selling a meal at a restaurant or our you selling a pleasant experience?
It is important to stay interested in the prospect as they only buy when they are interested. So you have to stay interested to pull them up to interest. They are going to start out a little reserved and will become interested if encourage by your interest.
The other thing would be to qualify the customer before you go out to their house. I would check their interest level on the phone. If you are not feeling it then maybe have them come by the shop if they are interested they will show up.
Of all things said , Qualifying your customer is #1 .They may not be able to afford our products .
As others have said, when people ask why we're so expensive compared to others we try to make sure they understand what our product is. Point out the features, and let them make the comparison (which may mean them going back to answer questions they don't have the answers for).
What I have a harder time with is answering how our products can be just as good as our competitors when we are half the price. So far the best thing I've come up with is to tell them that we buy our material from the same sources, use the same equipment to machine it, and take the same efforts to ensure quality. Then invite them to view our shop and finished product so they can make the comparison.
The key to selling, like much of life, is control.
If you do nothing else try to control the conversation. Not to be confused with how cops control people. The only control is centered around communication. The guy asking the questions is in control. People only buy from people they like.
When you don't get the sale find out where you lost control, where you did not convince them as per the sequence above.
Generally speaking sales is not natural to cabinetmakers, you have to work at it. But if there is anything that will pay you back on your time is this subject.
One other thing, if you are doing residential a lot of control is lost in the time it takes to give them the bid. Figure out a way to give them the bid at the 1st meeting, this way it will be easier to control the conversation. And if you lose the sale it will be easier to find out where you lost control.
My answer is. Well I can't tell you anything about the competition but I can can tell you every thing about my product. At that point I will launch into my presentation. And at the end of my presentation. I shut up and let the client ask some questions. Know when to shut up. is as important as when to start presenting. At this point, I gathering my plans and walk out with them. The old saying is, at the end of your presentation, the next one to speak will lose the game. And as pointed out, never bad mouth the competition.