To make my previous blog’s point clearer, I do a role-pay. I play both customer and salesperson.
Customer: “So Steve, how much is it?”
Steve: “Well John the price of this bike is only $19,550 and that’s a lot of bike for the money.”
I stop the role-play there and then explain that when I am doing seminars I ask the salespeople attending why they 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 $295.00. When I said “only” in front of the price, the customer grimaced a bit and said, “Yea, right, only.
At this point of the seminar I take my cup of coffee and start spraying it around the room and letting it splash on the hotel meeting room carpet. The class normally gets a shocked look on their faces and start chuckling. I ask them what that is. I can count on hearing things like “pretty weird” and “strange,” but finally someone says, “It’s coffee on the carpet.” Then I say, “No. It’s ‘only’ coffee on the carpet.”
I ask, “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 salespeople are talking about the customers’ money, be it the price of the bike, down payment, monthly payments or during the negotiation stage, they must say ‘only’, or ‘just’ before saying the money amount.
To make my point totally understandable I tell the class a made-up story. I tell them about a friend and myself playing tennis. After we get finished playing we go to my house to get a cool drink. Unfortunately, the only cool drink I had was a small amount of milk — only enough for one person.
I am a caring, sharing kind of guy so I tell my friend that I will share the milk with him. As I poor the milk in the glass I explain that I will drink the first half of it and then he can finish it off.
I pick up a cup of water that represents the milk and take my first sip. However, I did not notice the condition of the milk while I was pouring into the glass. I instantly spit out the water while making a sour face. I cough, spit and gag. I then hold out the cup out towards the class and ask them if they would take a drink to see what they think of it.
The people in class start chuckling and say there is no way that they would take a drink after seeing my sour face. I then say that I am going to pour the milk down the drain. My friend agrees. As I walk to the sink and get out of sight of my friend, I drink the rest of the milk that was fresh, cool and delicious.
My point to the story to the class is: Did my sour milk face have anything to do with the class thinking the milk was a good or bad deal?
The milk was a good deal, but my sour face made it seem like a bad deal to my friend. I doubt very much that he would take the drink. I also doubt that a customer would buy a motorcycle if the money were talked about with a sour face.
This is the 23rd part in a series of blogs about hiring new salespeople. To read the previous blogs 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. He is the author of three sales books, the new “Training and Hiring New Salespeople,” “Motorcycle Sales Made Easy” and “You Gotta-Wanna.” 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.
I think you are doing your customers a great disservice by this approach. Saying "only" or "just" makes the amount in question seem trivial. Most people I know work hard for their money. I go the other way, let them know that I know it's a substantial sum, but this is the value they get for their money. Your approach was the status quo in the 70's thru the 90's, but times have thankfully changed. Customers have been underestimated far too long.