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Chris Perry, Sandler Training, Price War, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1121: Your Price Is Right: How to Stand Your Ground Against the Lowest Bidders and Protect Your Margins

Chris Perry, Sandler Training, Price War, The Sales EvangelistWe’ve all encountered price wars against the lowest bidder, but today we’re going to talk about how you can stand your ground, protect your margins, and earn the price that you’re worth and how that will help you grow your business.

Chris Perry works with Market Sense, a Sandler Training franchise, that helps business attract, assess, hire, and onboard world-class salespeople.

Great ideas

There are lots of great ideas in the world. Many businesses have built things that they are excited about and proud of, and eventually, others notice that they are making a lot of money doing it. So they jump into the game.

Suddenly options exist where they didn’t before, and consumers, whether they are B2B or B2C, don’t know how to differentiate between them. Many of them fall back to the cheapest option.

If we fall into that trap, the buying process becomes all about price, and we’re forced to trade dollars for deals. We must cut our prices, and that’s a slippery slope. It’s also a great way to go out of business.

Consumers will treat you like a commodity if you allow them to.

Money mindset

Attitude makes a big difference in this scenario because the salesperson’s mindset plays a huge part in the price. Human beings are trained to seek deals and discounts. Chris’ company runs a lot of assessments on salespeople and they’ve discovered a lot of what they call money tolerance issues.

We all grow up with different relationships to money, with some of us believing it’s rude to talk about it. Others are taught to pinch every penny, while still others believe there is always more money available. Whether it’s conscious or not, we have a bunch of recordings playing in our heads. Those recordings impact our money conversations.

If, for example, a seller grows up believing it’s rude to discuss money, he’ll be less comfortable talking about it. He’ll likely wait until the last possible moment to address cost, because he assumes the prospects are uncomfortable talking about it, too. Waiting until the presentation to discuss price can be a recipe for disaster for sellers.

Sellers who believe that $500 is a huge purchasing decision, but who are selling $50,000 solutions, will be nervous about the price discussion. They’ll sweat a little extra, and the prospects will see that anxiety and they’ll assume the seller doesn’t believe in the product. They might also perceive that there’s room to negotiate the price.

Recognizing value

The key is to change the way you perceive your value so you don’t undersell yourself or your product. If you do, you’ve already lost before you even get started. You must believe in yourself and your product.

The truth is that it’s hard to change someone’s mindset. People won’t generally understand their worth simply by listening to a podcast, no matter how good it is. Chris recommends that you begin by acknowledging your mindset. Figure out which relationship you have with money and then leave it in the car.

When you go on a sales call, your relationship with money shouldn’t matter. Focus instead on the prospect and figure out her relationship with money. That’s the conversation that matters.


There are many aspects to behavior: having a goal, developing a plan to accomplish the goal, and establishing activities that get you to those goals. But with regard to budget discussions, we must be more consistent in knowing when and where to discuss pricing.

We’re typically mentioning it too early before we’ve helped the prospects understand the value, or too late when they’ve already got some idea of what they should be paying. Many sellers are winging this aspect of their sales process.

Have a plan. Develop milestones for your sales process. Have an idea of things you have to check off before you move to the next step. If you could establish just a bit of organization, if you could figure out the key steps in your sales process, you could map it out and figure out where the budget discussion should fall.

Then stick to your guns. Don’t allow the prospect to pull you into a discussion you aren’t ready to have yet. Many people routinely argue that the prospect is always right, so we must follow where they lead. Your role is to help your prospect, so you have to explain that it’s irresponsible to sell something or provide a quote without understanding what he needs.

Sales conversations

In a world where prospects see all alternatives as basically the same, with price as the only differentiator, the one thing that remains within our control is how we sell. Our sales conversations make a huge difference. If we’re doing like many reps and choosing the “showing up and throwing up,” option, dumping features and benefits and then giving a price, we’re missing an opportunity.

Differentiate by slowing down and asking good questions. When the prospect asks for a price, push back a bit in a compassionate, professional way. Ensure that you want to make sure you’re both a fit before moving forward to price. The prospect will appreciate your effort to understand his world.

Pricing objections

In a scenario where you aren’t the cheapest option, what should you do? This is likely where most sellers could use a little help. We know our product or service but we don’t know the prospect’s world. But the prospect is evaluating us on how we fit into their world.

In that sense, the prospect is best equipped to resolve those objections. We have to ask the right questions to get to that discussion.

So once we’ve run our sales conversation, asked the right questions, sought to understand the prospect’s world, and talked a little bit about budget, it’s important to acknowledge the issue of price.

“Hey, Donald, you know, I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to talk with you about your world and how our services might help, but we’ve got a problem. My guess is you’re probably going to be talking to other folks to see how they might help as well. I get it. I’d probably do the same thing. The problem is if you compare us on price, I can almost guarantee we’re going to be the highest bidder. So my question is for you, if you were me, would you still put together a quote?”

If they agree to a quote, ask this: “What do you need to see from someone to compel you to pay a premium?” Now we’re figuring out what the prospect needs to see to make it worth paying more. Chances are the prospect hasn’t thought about this before, so now he’s selling himself on value.

If the prospect says no to a quote, then you can acknowledge that perhaps you aren’t a fit, but you can still ask what the prospect would need to see in order to make a decision based upon something other than price.

Continuing the conversation

Now, whatever the prospect says, you’re continuing the conversation. If they need on-time deliveries or fantastic customer service, you can continue the discussion. You’ll move from being an order-taker to a problem solver. You’ll also sound confident in your discussion because you aren’t desperate.

These things won’t work if you don’t believe in your product or if your pipeline is anemic. Having a full pipeline cures most ailments. If you don’t absolutely need this deal, your technique can be a lot stronger.

Don’t try to do this on the fly. Sit with your manager or someone on your team and practice this stuff. Practice fielding tough questions. Practice handling pricing objections. Then practice handling conversations where the prospect immediately asks about the price. If you do, when you find yourself in these scenarios, it’s second-nature rather than something you fumble through.

“Protect Your Margins” episode resources

Sandler Trainers are worldwide, so you can always look for a local office to help you. If you’re in Austin, connect with Chris at their website, You can also connect with him on LinkedIn to see the videos and articles he shares there.

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561) 578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

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The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, Sales from the Street

TSE 639: Sales From The Street-“I REALLY Started Listening”

The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, Sales from the Street

To succeed in sales, one must know how to listen. I mean to really listen what your client is telling you. And along with that comes asking the right questions, using the right tools, and having the right process in place.

Today’s guest is Shauna McGee Kinney and she shares with us how she took some of our podcast episodes and how this was able to help change the way she did her business and how sales has increased. Shauna is a writer, particularly in the software manufacturing and construction industries.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Shauna:

Shauna’s major challenge:

Not getting any business from the clients who were taking work overseas because of the cost

How she fixed her problem:

1. Learning from past TSE episodes and applying them

Feb. 21, 2017 – Shauna listened to a previous TSE episode on Sell Me What I Need, Not What You Want and it struck home with her. She realized she was wasting her client’s time.

Mar. 11, 2017 – She listened to another episode on the TSE Hustler’s League about Questions Your Customers Want You to Ask – Part 1. After listening to the episode, she realized her clients were going out to do a presentation or trying to get a proposal ready over the weekend to make a Monday deadline for the proposal.

2. Creating awesome proposals through PandaDoc

Another thing she picked up from TSE previous episodes was the use of PandaDoc. She had a client who didn’t have the time to pay her by the hour to sit there and interview the client to get the proposal done. So she made sure to listen to the client and ask the questions they wanted him to ask.


She also offered them the office manager’s type of service where she offered to find a local printer, get their files over to them, and all they had to do was walk in and pick them up or the printer will deliver the finished materials to them. This marked the end of transactional sales and the beginning of a good relationship.

Results Shauna has seen from her strategies:

Shauna is now working with clients over the long term and she now has a team of four writers working on a project with her. Trust has been built between her and her clients.

Shauna’s Major Takeaway:

Think about the client first and what they want. Think about what they want you to ask them. Look beyond just your product especially in the beginning of that conversation. Work backwards from there. Build that trust.

Episode Resources:

Connect with Shauna on Twitter @shaunamkinney and check out her website

TSE 512: Sell Me What I Need, Not What You Want

TSE 525: Questions Your Customers Want You to Ask – Part 1


Maximum Influence by Kurt Mortensen

Join the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.


Skip Miller, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

TSE 631: How To Engage Executives In Meaningful Conversations That Will Close The Deal

Skip Miller, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist PodcastSo you’ve gone through your customer discovery phase, now what?

Today’s guest is William “Skip” Miller. Skip was previously here on the show back in Episode 639. If you haven’t yet, listen to it as he talked about effective discovery. Today’s episode is Phase II where he talks about value below and above the line, creating transfer of ownership, and being intentional and directional in your sales calls.

But first, I’d like to announce that our new semester of the TSE Hustler’s League is coming up on September 21, 2017. We will be having two courses –  one for foundational selling and the other for more advanced sales training focused on building value and increasing your close rate.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Skip:

  1. Honor the split.

There are two value propositions in the buying process:

  • “Below the line” buyer is the technical buyer, the person responsible for using what you sell.They want to know about us, our features, benefits and who we are, etc.
  • “Above the line” buyer doesn’t care what they’re buying but they just want ROI, save time, and mitigate risks. These are usually the executives.

However, we go below the line, walk through the sales process and as we get near the end, we then talk to the “above the line” executive. So we end up giving them a review of what we’ve done to the “below the line” buyer which they could care less about.

  1. Go after both value propositions as early as possible.

This means speaking the right language to the right people at the right time. Capture both. Don’t do demos and trials until you can capture “below the line” and “above the line.”

How to talk the language of executives:

* Find out what concerns executives.

Google “what keeps executives awake at night.” You’d be surprised how much literature is out there relative to what keeps a top executive in the industry as well as their top initiatives for the year as they look into the following year.

* Do an immersion program.

Go out and talk to somebody’s people. Every salesperson has a customer base and every customer base has some high level executives. Just do an informational interview. Don’t sell them anything. Just ask about their agenda for the next six months. Just listen to what’s important to them. Do not relate it to how you can sell. Read stuff so you have something to give on top of just your features and benefits.

An interesting fact:

47% of salespeople on sales calls listen for a keyword and then jump!

  1. Proactively induce the transfer of ownership.
  • Make sure the buyer goes from “I get it.” to “I get it.”
  • Transport people into the future..Make them travel through time by asking them what could be the scenario six months from now. Make them imagine your potential impact in the future.
  • Let them tell you how they’re going to use it rather than you tell them. (Above the line buyers don’t like to be told too much.)

Destroying the Term “Decision-Maker”

It’s “below the line” and “above the line.” You have to win both value flags in the middle of the process. Don’t think one value prop is better than the other. They are both important.

  1. Be intentional and directional.

The Next, Next Tool

In the middle, make sure you’re in control of the process. Provide the next step and then follow up with another next step in a set period of time. This shows you’re being intentional and directional.

Episode Resources:

Connect with Skip through email at or visit his website on

Skip’s books:

Proactive Selling

Selling Above and Below the Line

TSE 539: Interview with Skip about “This Is How You Discover”

Maximum Influence by Kurt Mortensen

Join the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.