Can salespeople, especially those money-motivated folks who work on commission, be uncomfortable discussing money? Who would think it possible? Well, the truth is that more than a majority of all salespeople, across all types of sales roles and from nearly every part of the globe, are not comfortable discussing money. And roughly the same percentage of the selling population have difficulty selling value.
Hard to believe? The Objective Management Group’s data on about 687,000 salespeople is proof. It shows that 60% are not comfortable discussing money and 60% are not competent selling value. It’s certainly a large percentage of the selling population.
Interestingly enough, 85% of the top 10% of sellers in this data, or the cream of the crop ARE comfortable discussing money.
And that does make sense. To be a strong value seller, someone who understands the benefit of their products and services from the buyer’s perspective, someone who can truly sell based on value, not price, one needs to be able to discuss the value in quantifiable terms. Thus, your sellers need to be able to discuss money, and price, and value with confidence, like the majority of the best sellers do.
How It Impacts Sales
When salespeople are not comfortable discussing money, and therefore do not and cannot sell value, then what frequently happens is that they avoid money conversations. They hope and pray that the buyer will love the solution so much that price won’t be an issue. They wait until the very end of the sales process to spring the price on them.
So, guess what? If price isn’t discussed early, trust is eroded. The other party is suspicious about why price isn’t brought up. Buyers can sense the uneasiness in a seller. If the seller does not bring up money early in the conversation, they are positioning themselves as every other inadequate salesperson out there. The ones who avoid the money conversation.
Avoiding or delaying this conversation emits a lack of confidence in the price or in the value delivered. It positions salespeople as product pushers as opposed to value sellers. And buyers will sniff this out.
If the seller lacks confidence in the value delivered, then why would the buyer believe the price reflects the value? This is when buyers pounce. They ask for discounts, knowing that the salesperson will be uncomfortable having the conversation.
And unfortunately, when the buyer starts asking for discounts, and the salesperson is already uncomfortable discussing money, it becomes a freight train running off the profitability tracks. The salesperson caves and discounts out of fear because it is easier than selling the value delivered.
Or the salesperson learns that the prospect is not a good fit based on their inability or refusal to pay the required price. This means the salesperson has wasted precious time with a prospect that is really not a prospect at all. Remember, if they don’t have the money, or if they have the money but aren’t willing to spend it on your products or services, they are not a prospect.
Too often when salespeople fail to sell the value of their products or services by demonstrating an appropriate ROI for the prospect, they choose to believe the prospect will buy anyway, rather than facing the truth early on.
Why Discussing Money and Selling Value Can Be Difficult
Often the reason sellers are uncomfortable both discussing money and selling based on value dates back to childhood, but not for the reasons you might think. It isn’t about growing up poor.
Those that struggle with money conversations typically were scolded early in life when they inquired about money. They were told that money is a private matter, or that we don’t discuss money at the dinner table, or it’s not our business what Mr. Smith makes.
Additionally, when money is discussed in the media it is frequently referred to with a negative connotation. This was especially true from 2008 to 2010 when many people lost their job and the recession was blamed on those “greedy Wall Street types.”
These messages create and reinforce negative thoughts about money and exasperate the inability to confidently discuss it. This all leads to selling on price and discounting out of fear rather than being able to sell value.
5 Ways to Help Sellers with Selling Value
- Use a repeatable selling conversation process which requires money discussions early on.
- Institute use of a qualifying scorecard which requires the identification of the prospect’s expected ROI for solutions.
- Help your salespeople gain comfort and confidence discussing money with prospects and clients with focused training that addresses skills and mindset.
- List and discuss the typical price objections salespeople will face, and role-play those conversations.
- Talk about money consistently with salespeople. This might seem simple, but engaging people who are uncomfortable discussing money may be more difficult than expected.
If you are wondering how your salespeople stack up regarding their ability to discuss money and sell value, along with numerous other data points, take this free tool for a test drive. It will show you how your team compares.