Quoting ‘only’ the MSRP won’t work

Editor’s note: This is the second blog in a series about dealing with customers’ objections to price. In this installment, Steve Lemco demonstrates how telling a customer a unit is “only” a certain price won’t make it seem any less expensive.

Customer John: “So Steve, how much is it?”

Salesperson Steve: “Well John, the price of this bike is only $15,955, and that’s a lot of bike for the money.”

Time out.

When I am doing seminars, I ask the people attending why we should say “only” in front of the price. The audience normally says that it makes the price seem lower. I reply, “Nope, it doesn’t.”

I don’t care if I go back to 1972 when I sold my first bike, a Trail Hopper Suzuki, for $295. When I said “only” in front of the price, the customer grimaced a bit and said, “Yeah, right, only.”

At this point of the seminar, I take my cup of coffee and start spraying it around the room, letting it splash on the hotel meeting room carpet. The crowd normally looks shocked and then starts chuckling. I ask them what’s going on. I can count on hearing things like “weird” and “strange,” but finally someone says, “It’s coffee on the carpet.”

I say, “No. It’s ‘only’ coffee on the carpet.”

Do you know why it is “only” coffee on the carpet? Because it is not my carpet. I would never dump coffee on purpose on my own carpet.

The point is, whenever you are talking about the customer’s money, be it the price of the bike or during the negotiation stage, you must say “only” or “just” before saying the money amount. If you get a sour look face or have a quiver in your tone and show fear and it is not your money, how in the world can the customer feel good about it when it is their money? It is the salesperson’s job to soften the price by having an “only” mannerism while discussing price.

When I train experienced salespeople, I can tell that they’re ready for my question of “How much is it?” One or two people blurt out, “It’s only $15,995.” Then they stop talking and smile, waiting for a verbal pat on the back.

“That’s a terrible answer,” I respond. I then explain the power of the zipper. The zipper is your mouth and when and where you zip it.

We already know that price is the only reason people do not buy what they want. It is such a disservice to leave someone at the worst place you can by saying the “only” price then hitting the zipper. What is the customer supposed to say? One of the most common answers is, “Is that your best price?” The salesman normally says no and then offers a discounted price. You should say “only,” but that shouldn’t be the end of the conversation.

In my next blog, I will take the role-play further and make the price more affordable to soften the blow. By doing what I suggest, you will not only sell more bikes, but you will also have a higher average gross profit. The best part is you will have happier customers.

To read the first blog in this series, click here.

Steve Lemco is the youngest brother of the late Ed Lemco and has been doing sales training and hiring for motorcycle dealers since 1983. Steve has trained in every state in the U.S., as well as England, France, Australia and New Zealand. Steve incorporates motivational boards and games along with his training and hiring because he believes the best way to get the job done is to make it fun.
Website: www.stevelemco.com
Phone: 253/826-6110

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