Please send me pricing information on your product.
Have you ever received e-mail like this and wondered, “What am I supposed to do with this?” That’s exactly what I thought when I opened this e-mail a couple of weeks ago
The first problem is the word “products” – just what does that mean? With language like that, I couldn’t even tell if this person had reached the company he was looking for.
Second, even if he does know he is talking to the right company, I have no idea what he is asking about. We have a lot of different products – just as you do.
Third, everyone knows you are not supposed to send pricing information out without building some kind of rapport and doing some qualifying. Doing so is almost always the kiss of death for the sale.
As a sales person working with Internet Leads, you probably get this type of inquiry on a regular basis. However, my guess is that none of your sales training has ever explained how to respond to this type of e-mail. Since we do this kind of training with dealers, I thought I would share the steps used to turn “Internet Leads” into good prospects.
Step #1 – Assume this is a Valid Prospect. Dismissing a prospect that leads with this question is going to cost you a sale. The fact they are asking the price question shows a real interest in – but a lack of information about – your product.
This prospect is trying to avoid being embarrassed by asking you to do a lot of work if they aren’t going to be able to afford your product in the first place. The price question is a gateway question that opens the door for discussion. It is an important question for them, but not for the reasons you would assume.
Step #2 – Respond A.S.A.P. You want your prospect to feel you are sincere and that you care about helping them. Even if you respond with a quick e-mail asking for permission to contact them later, that will help. Taking a long time to respond will turn your prospect off and make your answer – no matter what it is – feel contrived.
Step #3 – Don’t Answer the Price Question Directly. I said earlier, “Giving price without building rapport and qualifying the customer is the kiss of death.” I meant it. If you answer this price question directly, the prospect won’t need you anymore. Once they have this information, they will move onto another sales person, not because they didn’t like your answer, but because they will now have what they need to feel smart when they talk to that other salesperson and everyone would rather feel smart.
On the other hand, you don’t want to annoy the customer by ignoring their question so you need to give an answer in a format that gives you a lot of flexibility such as, “Our homes can range from between X and Y per Square Foot”; or “We have homes starting at $20,000 and we’ve custom built homes into the hundreds of thousands.”
Step #4 – Explain Why You Can’t Answer. Give the prospect two or three real reasons why you can’t answer the question yet. You don’t have to make these up. You need to know more about what type of home they are looking for, where they are going to put the home, what zoning requirements there will be for their home, etc. etc.
Step #5 – Solicit Their Help. Almost everyone lets his or her guard down and reaches out to someone who says, “Can you help me?” Ask your prospect to help you by giving you more information so you can do a better job answering their question. Give them a specific list of things you need to know, but make sure they are open-ended questions, not a punch list that will force you into a corner when they respond with answers.
Step #6 – Promise to Answer the Question in Detail. Yes you are going to give the customer a specific answer, but you don’t have to do it now. Really you can’t do it now anyway. Promise the customer that you will give them a specific and accurate answer to their question as soon as you have all the information you need. The act of gathering this information will give you the chance to talk to the prospect and build some rapport.
Step #7 – Ask for an Appointment. If you’ve followed the steps this far, it should be pretty easy to get the prospect to give you their phone number or to give you a call. Try something like, “It might be easier to help get you the information you need if we could talk. What’s a good time for me to give you a call?” or “Would you mind giving some time to better understand what you need in your home and get you the exact numbers you are looking for?”
Remember to Follow Up. If they don’t respond with a call or a phone number, ask again. They may need a little encouragement to come out of their protective shell. Internet prospects could be looking to make a short-term decision or they could be months away from being ready to talk to a sales person. If you want to be successful, you have to be prepared to follow-up over the long haul.
Remember when you follow-up to always be nice, be polite, be honest and be sincere.
From now on, when you get e-mail from leads asking for price, follow these seven steps and you will significantly increase your ability to convert leads into good prospects.
Chad Carr is the President of Rainmaker Consulting, a second-generation family business that provides Retail Management Software and Consulting Services for the Housing, RV and Trailer markets.
Rainmaker works with dealers ranging in size from five to six people up to some of the biggest and most well recognized names in the industry. For more information about their services, visit their web-site at www.getRain.com or contact Chad at (800) 336-0339 or chad@getRain.com.