When it comes to parties it should never be about the price. I’m going to be so bold as to declare that if the conversation is about price, it’s because the staff person booking the party is hung up on the price or they are afraid they won’t get the sale because someone might offer a cheaper price.
STOP IT! Get rid of that mentality. I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave and make the “price problem” magically go away. If we were together, and I asked you what people buy when they purchase a party product in your center...every person in the room would say, “experience.” And yet, we spend a ton of time working on what to charge for a package and little time on how to create the most memorable experience so that the guest is blown away by the shear value of what they received.
I believe that when price is the objection, it is because we have either made the conversation about price or have failed to share the value of the experience. Everyone has heard about a product that sounds amazing. The sales person or the ad or commercial has been so intriguing that as the buyer you are thinking, “ooh, I wonder what that costs?” And then you heard the price and thought, “Wow, I have to have that!”
When you are visiting with a guest about holding a party or group event in your center, the conversation needs to be all about the guest. What do they envision their party to be? How many people? What day/night of the week are we having this great event? How much fun do they want to have? Never ask the question, and especially not up front, “What’s your budget?”
I see many sales people ask this question in the beginning of the conversation long before rapport has been established or qualifying questions answered about the party. It’s nosey to ask the budget question in the beginning, and it makes the conversation all about price. You aren’t selling price, you are selling an experience. People will pay more and negotiate less when they feel like they are getting great value. Create value and you may never need to negotiate again. As a matter of fact, when you create great value you also open up additional doors for upselling.
There are three thoughts I’d like to leave you with today.
1. It is truly all about value. If you are having price conversations then the customer does not see the value of what you are selling. Questions to ask here are: do you think your product is valuable? If not, why not? What could you do to create more value? Notice whether or not you are starting the price conversation or is it the customer.
2. People buy, but they don’t like to be sold. What do you have that’s worth buying? Are you pitching right away without asking a lot of qualifying question regarding the party? Take the stand that you are interested in the customer’s vision of the event rather than trying to be interesting about how great your product is. It takes discipline to wait on selling your product until you know what it is the customer wants and needs. Remember, talk about their financial investment in this very valuable party at the end of the conversation!
3. You never know, or at least it’s a risk to predict, what others think is valuable. So just because you think something is a “good deal” it’s risky to sell on the price. Pay attention to what the guest values when it comes to having an event in your center.
Money is a tricky subject especially when it comes to how people spend it. I’ve been in sales all my life. I’ve also been a consumer. Based on my own experience with money, I know that things change. In my mind some of the things that used to be expensive have changed. The value I personally place on how to spend money has changed. The priority of price is a big deal with some things and not so much with others. I bet that I’m not very different than other people.
This conflict or at least these varied thoughts about how money plays a role in the purchase are too much to know in the beginning of the conversation with a guest. And if it is the focal point of the conversation then I think you’ve totally missed the opportunity for a real purchase.
Unless you sell a commodity, like soap or toilet paper, where the brand and the perceived value is extremely established then the opportunity to find out what the customer wants and sell them that is the highest priority, not the price.
If they are telling you, no, they won’t buy a party or an event at your place because the place down the road will do their event for less money, then you haven’t created enough value. Could you compete with price and simply lower your offer to get the business? Maybe, however, this is not a good long-term strategy.
Think of it this way. People love a good deal. And it’s their perception about whether the deal is good or not. We can’t know. Here’s the proof: you all have an insanely “good deal” product based on what you know about your products. And yet, everyone doesn’t buy that product all the time. There are people that disagree with you about whether the deal is good, and there are people who don’t care because that’s not what they want to buy. Some people may even think there’s something wrong with it because it is so cheap!
So my point is that instead of focusing on what people want to spend, make it your priority to know what they value. Oh, I can hear some of you saying: “Beth, I value my money, so it would always be about price for me!” OK, I get that. How do you value it? I bet, what you mean is that you want to make sure that when you spend your money, you get “more” than you paid. I bet you want to make sure you don’t get screwed. I bet you want to be sure that things have been fair.
The price is a number. The value is the perception that you are getting what you pay for and more. Price has to come last in the conversation. Unless the customer comes to you and says, “Beth, I want to plan an outing for my youth group and I’d like to keep the cost around $10 per person,” then money is really the last consideration.
Don’t ask them what their budget is…instead, once you’ve qualified the “event needs” and understand what they want, you may say something like, “how do you determine what to spend on an event like this?”
Good luck with the end of 2013. Where did this year go? Next time we will be planning big parties for 2014. Thanks for reading!
Beth Standlee is the CSO and founder of Trainertainment, a sales training company dedicated to great guest service, party development, and ultimately bringing more money to your bottom line. Beth can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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