Price is a common objection that sellers face during every sales process in every industry. Modern manufacturing sellers are no different. In fact, they typically face more price objections than other industries because of the impact from lower-cost competitors from other regions and geopolitical challenges, like tariffs or fluctuating costs of raw materials.
When price is the primary focus of a prospect, salespeople need to find a way to focus the conversation on value so they can continue building the relationship. Let’s explore how manufacturing sellers switch buyers focus away from price by showcasing solutions that demonstrate value, emphasize the total cost of ownership and helping your stakeholders succeed.
1. Demonstrate Value by Engaging Early and Establishing Expertise
The earlier in the process sellers engage buyers, the more opportunity they have to identify and prioritize their needs. In fact, 90% of buyers told CSO Insights, the research division of Miller Heiman Group, that they would be willing to engage sellers earlier in the process. This also provides more time for the seller to establish how your solution solves the specific challenges facing each buying influence.
Sellers must have a strong understanding of the buyer’s business and their general pain points, such as the impact of rapid shifts in technology and changing government regulations, and offer unique solutions to those challenges. Otherwise, the buyer will not see any differentiating value in your seller versus a competitor. By providing expert insight and perspective that buyers can’t find anywhere else, your sellers show prospects that they truly understand their business goals and how your specific solutions help achieve them.
Additionally, sales leaders need to coach sellers on tailoring their messaging to buyer roles to increase their effectiveness. As an example, many manufacturers experience consolidation in some form.If your buyer’s company recently acquired or merged with another organization, your seller can share a case study about how your solutions helped a customer achieve success during a similar transition. This type of personalization pays off, too—in CSO Insight’s 4th Sales Enablement Study, they found that sales organizations that give sellers messages tailored to buyer roles have 9% higher win rates than those that leave tailoring up to sellers.
2. Emphasize Total Cost of Ownership
Often, manufacturers compete against companies from other regions, like China, which now leads the United States as the largest manufacturing nation. During recent years, these competitors have also closed the technological gap to improve their products, but the overall quality often still lags. When facing these competitors and confronted with price objections, sellers must refocus the conversation on the total cost of ownership, which can include supply chain efficiency, customer service and product quality, among other elements.
Sales leaders can coach sellers on specific messaging to emphasize what your company delivers beyond the initial price tag. For instance, if the competitor has an unreliable supply chain, teach sellers how to calculate the potential costs of significant downtime, which carries more long-term costs.
Another element of cost of ownership is the potential risk to a company’s reputation. If your buyer chooses an inferior product because of a lower price and that product malfunctions, how will that impact the company’s brand? This could be costly when combined with supply chain issues or poor customer service in response to the malfunctioning product.
3. Help the Individual Stakeholder Succeed
Companies don’t buy products—people do, each with individual needs beyond company objectives. Once a seller understands the external factors impacting a decision, they must address the differentiating elements of their solution through the lens of the individual buying influence.
For instance, if one of the buying influences needs to bring costs down, your seller can focus their messaging on the tangible, short-term benefits of your solution, such as decreased costs in the first quarter after implementation. Or perhaps the buying influence overseeing the supply chain needs to improve efficiency because of constant issues with the current vendor. Your seller can share data on the reliability that your product delivers to similar customers.
While lower costs may tempt your prospects, the most effective approach for many manufacturing sales teams is to provide perspective throughout the buyer’s path. By engaging all the buying influences earlier in the process, sellers can identify and prioritize the needs of each influence and the company’s business challenges.This allows sellers to focus on delivering value proposition messaging such as total cost of ownership to focus buyers on your total solution, not solely on the price of your product.
If your sales team needs training on how to offer a stronger value proposition, Strategic Selling with Perspective teaches how to simplify complex sales to create a consistent and repeatable sales approach backed by technology.