This morning JB came to clean my place. Upon arrival, he immediately started complaining about the Doctors offices he cleans and how they constantly ask him for a better price than what he charges. JB was angry because they are constantly beating him up on price. JB mentioned that he said to them if he comes to them for an office visit, they are going to charge him $150 and that he can take it or leave. Why do Doctors expect everyone else to pay them their requested fees but yet they refuse to pay others what they are worth? Sound familiar?
As sales executives, we are always being challenged on our prices, we constantly have to justify our value and prove our worth. The issue is not whether or not your customer is challenging you. The issue is how you are taking it and whether or not you have empathy for the customer. Let me explain.
To start with, if you receive a customer’s objection and immediately take it as a personal affront then become angry that they are questioning your value, your customer will hear that anger in your response regardless if you are smiling or not when you are saying it. That itself automatically starts the process of putting distance between your customer and you.
Instead of being angry, you should expect this as a normal occurrence of your job. Everyone, including you is always looking to get a better deal. Not because you are not worth what you charge, but because everyone is looking to cut costs so they have more to play with. This is where the empathy part comes in.
If you are empathetic with your customers, say the Doctors in this case, you would be thinking about what your customers are going through. We know Doctors are getting reimbursed by insurance companies at a lesser amount each year. With the new healthcare laws, doctors are being asked to provide more services for less and often not even getting reimbursed for what they did a couple of years ago. Add in ever increasing premiums for malpractice insurance, business expenses, etc. Plus they pay more in payroll expenses due to the new tax rates. With their expenses going up and revenues down for the same amount of cases, they are forced to see more cases to get their revenue to expense ratio back to where it was a year ago.
Is it any wonder that they are looking to cut costs anyway they can? In fact, the Doctors fired a cleaner that worked for them for over 20 years. If you cannot find a way to constantly provide value to your customers, your competition will.
By understanding this, it kind of takes the edge off of you being asking to cut your costs. Now you are not taking it personally, you realize they’re trying to better cope with current realities. By being empathetic, it allows for better discussion in which both sides hear each other. This results in better understanding between you and your customer.
When you are being challenged by your customers regarding prices and value, instead of taking it personally, show some empathy and see it from their point of view. When you do this, you will be in a far stronger position to respond properly. If you get angry and upset that they are challenging you, your response will contain that anger. Once that happens, the customer will probably beat you down on the price. Why? Because they are not motivated to find a win-win solution with an angry supplier.
Customers are only interested in getting what’s good for them. If, on the other hand customers like you and feel for your position, they will be more inclined to work with you and find a mutually acceptable deal in which both sides win. But for this to occur, they need to like you first and feel that you care about their issues. Not just concerned about your issues.
In this market- empathy is necessary and empathy sells.
If you want to increase your sales, consider inviting Ron Karr to work with your team. Check out what this CEO has to say about Ron’s results.