When “Sales” Accidentally Hurt Your Sales

November 29, 2017

Jennifer struggled because what she did became difficult to undo.  Her customers now expected it…waited for it.  It damaged her bottom-line, put stress on her business and left her feeling helpless.

You might be feeling the same way…because you’re doing the same thing as Jennifer.

You’ve…accidently…trained your customers to wait for your “Sales”.

Yes, “Sales” will bring in customers.  We use them.  Most businesses use them.

Yet, when you start using “Sales” too frequently, your prospects and customers will simply wait for your sale.

They wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Your sales get sluggish.  You begin to feel compelled to do it again, because it’s the “best way” you know to bring in sales.

Of course, there are great reasons to have the occasional sale.  What we’re talking about here are “Sales” that become epidemic (like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday…and then they get extended to Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…every day).

Frankly, “Sales” do something else even more troublesome.  As much as all of us love a good sale, “Sales” can damage your business in another ways. 

“Sales” all too often create just that, a sale, a deal, a transaction, a momentary exchange.

What we should be striving to create is a relationship.

Long-term customer relationships mean you’ve cultivated customers who buy from you again and again, who turn to you first to solve a problem, who recommend you to their friends and colleagues.

Let me give you a personal example.  We were working with a prospect to do some positioning work for their start-up business.  The CEO said “yes, let’s do this.” He said it at least four times.

However, he had yet to give us a credit card or check.

I could feel something going on he hadn’t shared yet.  First, he asked for references.  Check. Done.  But I could tell that wasn’t what he wanted.

Then he asked for an example of the work.  Check.  Done.  But I knew that wasn’t the issue either.

Finally, we got around to why his “yes” hadn’t turned into money.  He wanted a reduced price.  A discount.  A deal.

Yet, knowing he was concerned about money in this start-up, I had already rounded every corner and taken out anything extra.

I told him the price was the price.

The price was the price because I didn’t want to train him to expect a discount.

The price was the price because we wanted to do the next piece of work with him and not have the heart of the relationship be the price.

The price had to be equitable for both of us, and discounting would have “trained” him to always ask and expect one, and honestly, we were confident the price was right to create great work.

Be confident in your prices when they are built on sound reasoning and incredible value.  Resist the request to discount that equitable price.

If you’ve been accidently training your customers to wait for the discount or ask for a price cut, today would be a great time to end this unintentional behavior.

Instead, use your time to build and convey the incredible value your services bring.

People will pay for that!

Go forth and do great things,

Martha and Chris