Dialogue 11. Bidding, Closing and Dealing with Debts
S: What should we do when the buyer begins to bargain? Give way to him? You taught us not to do this. But bidding is always a concession, isn’t it?
T: Bidding consists of two actions: presenting the price (or price options depending on what the buyer wants to buy) and handling the buyer’s objections. Objections in this case relate to the price (“It is very expensive for us”) or payment terms (“It is our corporate policy to pay all suppliers 30 days after the goods are delivered”).
All sales gurus unanimously suggest postponing the discussion of price as close as possible to the closing. Why? First, because the buyer immediately “fixates” on the price and payment terms, and thus disrupts the entire Sales Cycle. Second, it is assumed that during the bidding the seller has to yield something, but before that he needs to justify his price. Third, sellers are afraid to handle objections. So, the later the price is named, the more likely it is that the seller has already managed to convince the buyer that he needs to buy the goods, and the less likely that the buyer will strongly object to the price.
Here, however, a problem arises, and it is practically unsolvable. The buyer wants to know the price as early as possible so that he has something with which to compare the seller’s offer. He perceives any attempt to postpone naming the price as a manipulation, as an attempt to deceive him, “After I agree to buy, I cannot turn back even if the price does not suit me.” Alas, there is some truth to this perception.
S: You tell us all the time that the main thing in a win-win sale is to avoid any manipulations, not to give the buyer a reason to think that we are trying to deceive him. Then, when should we discuss the price?
T: In our opinion, both the price and other costs the buyer incurs due to the purchase of your product should be part of your presentation and your marketing message. This message works according to the formula:
Costs < Benefits
If the buyer knows the possible costs in advance, he feels more relaxed, confident. He can focus on the benefits. Costs provide him with a scale for a more realistic assessment of benefits. The unknown costs hidden from him “for the time being” make him nervous, worried, suspicious. In this state, he perceives the benefits more skeptically. Which buyer’s mood is better to the seller? That’s my point.
S: Do we need to tell the buyer in advance about the possible costs? Maybe it’s better to hide these costs from him: let him buy first, and then it is too late?
T: Only those who regard the buyer as a loser and want to shove the product down his throat can think so. The relationship based on this attitude won’t last long.
On the other hand, if the seller tells the buyer everything about the possible costs, including the price, such a story can strengthen his credibility. The seller has nothing to fear. He can handle any concern caused by some unacceptable aspect of the costs. He can do that in such a way that the buyer feels good (a way to avoid trouble has been found) and the seller would not have to make significant concessions (from his own wallet).
Do not be afraid of bidding, start them as early as possible during the presentation of your product. Thus, you remove the buyer’s hidden tension. The bidding technique is the same as for handling any other concern.