Stu Schlackman

The Relationship Selling Expert - Building High-Performance Teams

Selling With Clarity






The search began at Lowe’s. I needed a new barbeque grill. I was surprised – my current grill lasted longer than I expected – nearly 10 years. As I walked into the store, there they were. Front and center. 15 grills on display. Since I’m a big picture person and not into a lot of detail, I went straight to the prices hanging from each grill.

The big brand in grills is Weber. And, no surprise – there is the Weber E-310 model for a mere $719 (before tax of course). Across from the Weber is a brand that I don’t know – Master Forge for $399. Wow half the price! I wondered, other than cost, what’s the difference?

If you’ve been in sales for long, you have no doubt run into the customer that asks, “why is your price so much more than you competitors”? I’m guessing that Master Forge is a formidable competitor of Weber, and that they have used the number one tactic to knock Weber off: they dropped their price.

In Daniel Pinks book
"To Sell is Human", the 3rd point he addresses, after attunement and buoyancy, is “clarity.” Clarity gives the customer an obvious message about the position of your products and services.

Pink defines clarity this way: “The capacity to help others see their situations in fresh and more revealing ways and to identify problems they didn’t realize they had.” We should not be selling the product but the benefits of the product.

Clarity is about contrast. What sets you apart from your competition? Strategically, you never want your only advantage to be price – it should be value. What value are you providing, particularly value that your competitors can’t provide? Can you respectfully show your competitive advantage so that it brings your customer or prospect clarity?

So back to the grill – which one should I buy? The Master Forge is much cheaper than Weber! But Weber has a reputation for quality – my brother has a Weber that he’s had for 8 years and it still looks new. And, I don’t know anyone with a Master Forge. It might be 10 years before a Weber needs any parts replacement. The Master Forge would probably need new burners in 2 years.

As I checked out both grills I tapped on the metal encasing comparing the sounds. The Weber sounded very solid and the Master Forge kind of tinny. The Weber components inside the grill look way thicker that the gas rods in the Master Forge. How do I feel about the two?

Well considering that after three years, my most recent Jenn-Air grill needed new gas rods and the top grates. The cost was nearly $180. That amount is nearly 50% of the cost of the Master Forge. After replacing the components 2 times I would have exceeded my initial investment in the Weber.

So, I chose Weber since I believe I can go maintenance free for 10 years without investing in any new component. Value for me is a top quality piece of equipment that is reliable and affordable in the long term. I don’t want to get caught spending money buying new components.

When price is used against you how will you sell your higher priced solution? Sell the benefits of the product or service – that’s what Weber does – they focus on its quality and longevity.

Remember the formula: Value = Benefit/Cost. Value is directly related to the benefits of your product and service. The more you can clearly demonstrate your benefits, the less impact the cost will be on the customer. Value always trumps cost unless you’re buying plain old salt or sugar.

Good selling!
Stu

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