She wants me to “price match”! Help!

Question: How do I get the job with a “haggling customer”?

Steve’s Solution: Just play their game with my 7 Steps to Win Over a “Price Shopper”! (And still make a profit!)

Dear Steve,

Steve, I have a wealthy first time prospect where I went out to her house and looked at her carpets. There is a low-ball carpet cleaning company in our area that gave her a price over the phone. The home owner wanted to know if I will “honor his price”. She even had the nerve to ask if I would “price match”!  You know what I would like to tell her, but….

So Steve, how would you handle this? I know you told us in SFS to always reply, “I understand”. But this idiot is only looking for price, price, price!  (Or at least that is what she says!) Please let me know your thoughts.

Perplexed in Arizona

Hmm.  Actually, Perplexed, don’t feel like the Lone Ranger!  Many cleaning and restoration contractors hit this.  Remember that I told you at SFS that the “Great Recession” has made it “fashionable to haggle”!  So here is how to handle her and other so-called “Price Shoppers”!

Above all else, Perplexed, DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY!  Our normal reaction is to feel anyone asking about our price is attacking us, our company and our quality!  Ten years ago this might have been true!  But now you must “play the game”.  How?

1. Empathize-  Remember, Perplexed, that “Value Shopping” is a new concept for your clients too.  Many people are tentative, even embarrassed, when asking you for a “better deal”.  So immediately reach out to the customer with a “common ground” response, “I understand, Mrs. Jones.  We’re all trying to get the most ‘bang for the buck’ today. (smile) So let’s review the proposal …” At this point you are going to …

2. Morph into a consultant  Your customer thought they were asking you to drop your prices.  And so they were!  BUT you on the other hand are going to “deliberately misunderstand your client” and start analyzing how to change the job specs to justify giving them a lower price.  The philosophy you want to convey here is “my prices are fixed but let’s see how we can achieve ‘the clean you need at a price you can afford’!”  (Heck, that isn’t a bad Selling Statement to remember!)  You will start the process when you give the prospect the …

3. “Illusion of Control”- Perplexed, the home owner doesn’t want to be in full control of their carpet cleaning.  (If they did, they would have been down at the local Ace Hardware store renting a Rug Doctor!)  However, your prospective customer wants to FEEL like they are in control, both in the job scope and the pricing.  By consulting with them and then building an “affordable job” around what the customer shares with you they will feel both validated and in control which will lead to them booking the job with you!  The home owner receives this all-important Illusion of Control when you …

4. Interview the client-  Many times a cleaner will emotionally “draw a line in the sand” on the job price by adopting a defensive, even hostile posture when the customer just wants to feel “listened to” and in control.  So give your customer control by interviewing them using “Valid Business Questions” (VBQ’s) such as:

a. “Hmmmm… What areas are the biggest priorities for you?”

b. “Where do you have the most traffic?”

c. “What (or where) are the worst spots and stains in your home?” 

Remember, Perplexed, the longer you can keep the home owner actively involved in answering these VBQ’s the better because you want to …

5.  Benefit from the ROI principle-  Basic business psychology tells us that the longer you keep the customer involved in the sales process using “VBQ’s” the more likely it is that they will want a “return on their time invested”.  And what is the ONLY WAY they can get a good return (ROI)?  Bingo!  By having your company do the job!  (This ROI principle of selling is used extensively by car dealers and real estate agents.)  After you have thoroughly interviewed the home owner (and in the process built a professional relationship) you must now …

6.  Present their alternatives- This “consultant selling” is based on the old sales concepts of you get to choose one of three flavors, “me, me or me”! In other words, Perplexed, you take the information and priorities you received in the Cleaning Interview and “massage it” into three different price points that give the customer the best appearance possible for her budgeted amount while still giving you the profit percentage you need. After reviewing their options you must now …

7. “Ask for the order”- Due to the dreaded “Fear of Rejection” we too often keep talking in circles instead of “popping the question”!  This is a far too common way of losing the sale.  Remember that IF you have followed the six steps above and IF the customer has agreed with and/or given their input on every point they really have been giving a steady stream of “yes’s” all along the way!  So you have nothing to fear by using my Three Question Closing the Sale technique:

1. “So of these three options, Mrs. Jones, which one best meets your needs?”  SHUT UP and wait for her response.

2. “Great!  Now are we working with any deadlines on getting this work done?”  SHUT UP and wait for her response.  If the answer is “No, any day works” you have yourself a YES! On the other hand, if she says, “Well, I’d like it done before my party next Friday …” even better!  But if her answer is sort of vague then just move to my third Closing Question …

3. “Is there a day of the week that is better or worse for you?”  Once again, SHUT UP and wait for her response.  If she replies, “Tuesdays are really full around here” you have yourself a YES!  If she says, “No, any day works this week” it is another YES! Either way just reply …

4. “That’s fine.  Just let me call the office and see what options we have available.”  Done!  Guess what, Perplexed?  You just booked another price haggling Value Shopper.  Congratulations!

OK, buddy, I took a lot of this from my Special Report on “Winning Over the Price Shopper”.  So go download it and then tell me how these strategies worked for you!


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