I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that phrase in one of my selling seminars. The fact is, you aren’t selling if you always have the “right price.” Selling is offering a product or service at a price which provides a profit to the seller. The “right” price has nothing to do with what others are charging or the competitive atmosphere of the market.

All people want is to purchase things that have more value than what they paid. The bigger the difference between the value and the price, the easier the sale is to close. People want to buy wholesale. They want to buy in large quantities— look at the success of places like Sam’s Club or Costco, where people pay a fee to get what many think are better prices. People want to buy clothing “on sale.” Why? Because the perception is they are saving money— the value exceeds the price.

It’s part of our nature to want to pay less but receive the highest quality products. “Going out of business” sales are great places to find value; the companies don’t care anymore whether they are making a profit. Yet some companies have used this ploy year after year and apparently, somehow make a profit. My point is we all want to be assured that we are getting value for our buck.

So let’s think about how we sell our products and services. It makes little difference what you sell; the method is always the same: set the value high enough above the price that the buyer will see the offer as worthwhile and buy.

Setting the value is not a scam or smoke and mirrors. It is finding things that will differentiate you from others in the marketing who sell the same things you do. This is the fun part of selling. Selling is creating a perception of value without being dishonest. This is sometimes hard for new salespeople to understand.

Since setting value seems to be a hard concept for some people, let me go over some examples for sheet metal and hvac applications:

Sheet metal

The gauge of the metal (30 ga. vs. 24 ga.); cross-breaking the ductwork on all sizes, not just on the units having as aspect ratio of more than 3 to 1; the finish of the metal; how the joints are put together; the use of turning vanes in the elbows; the flexible connectors used at the plenum; streamline fittings vs. higher friction loss fittings; the design of the ductwork: the velocity and the static pressures… and the list can grow daily.

Hvac equipment

Without getting into brand names— you know how I feel about that issue— talk about how you isolate the units with pads under the units for sound; how you ground all the outside units with a three-foot copper road; how you set up all heating units so they will be able to later add ac, electronic air cleaning or humidification; how you offer a full one-year warranty or better warranty on everything you install; how you train your people to be the best service people in the market; how you use flat rate pricing on any service call after the warranty period to insure a fair price to the buyer; how the equipment is sized to suit the current conditions and not one that existed more than 10 years ago or so feature the manufacturer would like you to talk about.

Now these are features or things you do to the equipment to make it a final end user product, a finished product. But they are not benefits that the prospect can relate to or see value for themselves. That is your job and where perception comes into play.

Let me take a couple of the features above and show how to create benefits for the end user. You might say:

“We cross-break all of our ductwork and use nothing but 26 ga. and thicker sheet metal. What this means to you is that when this system comes on or goes off, there will be no popping noise. We are proud of our quiet design. We also design the airflow at the delivery outlets and the returns as well as the ductwork to be as quiet as possible. Let me show you the difference between two system designs that both meet your home heating and cooling needs.”

At this point, bring out samples to show the difference between a quality job (yours) and they type of job they could get if they bought only from a lowest price standpoint. The combination of using samples while explaining the differences or the value of your system is dramatic and effective. This is truly creating the perception of value by being honest.

If the customer does not buy at this point, then the problem is you haven’t presented the story so they understand the value. Go over it again and make sure they see your enthusiasm. They will buy.

(Dave Gleason has more than 40 years of experience in contracting, engineering and wholesaling. He has put these experiences into a comprehensive consultation and training company called Systematic Selling Inc., which offers customized sales seminars and workshops. Contact him at 1165 Antioch Campground Road, Gainesville, GA 30506; phone 800-447-7355; fax 717-698-6555.