Thursday, January 10, 2013

Digital Signage Sales 101: Sticker Shock Syndrome; dealing with cost objections

-Deacon Wardlow

     The discussion went well. The client's needs were discussed, a proposal was put together outlining the value of the solution, discussing how the solution fit the customer's needs and the various options available. When you get to the cost, you get "the face." Maybe not, maybe you get objections or surprise or (the worst) complete and utter silence.

When a customer gives you the same look as the baby in the picture to your left, things are not going well. Overcoming sticker-shock is an issue in any industry. I feel somewhat safe in saying we've all likely been there at one time or another. Today's blog, some ideas on overcoming (and completely avoiding) Sticker Shock Syndrome.

1. Budget
     Discussing budget is separate from price. If you were selling real estate, you'd want to know what price range the buyer is looking at so you don't waste their time (and they don't spend yours) on options they won't really consider. You could work with ranges. Are they looking for something which falls between $30,000 - $50,000? $35,000-$20,000? $20,000-$10,000? Don't dig for specifics, but if you have a range, this gives you something to work with. At least that's what many believe.

What you've just done though is start the wheels in motion and potentially built up concern and stress on the buyer's end. You just gave them a bunch of numbers which (to many) are rather expensive and there's no justification for the cost, no value. Just a bunch of high numbers. Many salespeople skip over a budget consideration and discuss the solution itself (which I recommend wholeheartedly). With Digital Signage (specifically LED Signs) you'll get an idea of what the client is looking for; then it's a matter of giving a few pricing options (good, better, best) and building the value of the proposal.

2. Build Value
     How was the proposal submitted? Did you hand the customer a folder with some system information, a job print and the price? Did you give them a single piece of paper with the cost in the corner? Did you shake their hand, look them in the eye, and say, "$$$$$$$$$$$$! Will get you what you need."? Don't give them a map and tell them where you want them to go, walk them through the proposal so everyone arrives at the same time.

I like folders (though there are several options which achieve the same end). Get as many folders as there will be people in the meeting and one "extra" for yourself or a surprise added member to the meeting (ideally something branded with your company logo/contact info). Hold on to anything you're going to hand out.

Part 1: Your company and why XYZ Company is the best for this solution (1 page, images of similar installations/work on that page).
Part 2: Why the solution is a great fit for their business (case study/best-use example, etc.) 1 page.
Part 3: The solution. 1 page for the hardware, 1 page for the software. Keep it short. Keep it simple.
Part 4: The implementation. 1 page, how long will everything take from order to installation and when can they use the system.
Part 5: What they're getting, a breakdown of costs associated and the final price.

Hand them each part as you discuss it. This helps keep everyone on the same page and paying attention to your presentation. Build the value in the system and how the solution will help them achieve their objectives (demonstrate how this will be a return on the investment vs. a purchase, discuss how the DS solution can achieve better outreach to customers and the community). By the time you reach the actual cost, there should be inherent value built into the pricing. The customer will see how the system either uses expenses (advertising money allotted from alternatives which aren't working well) or how it generates enough traffic to support the price (increased revenue or better outreach outweighs the initial investment in the system).

Overall, the best way to overcome Sticker Shock Syndrome is to avoid it completely by being pro-active. If there's true value in the solution you're providing the customer and you've outlined how they'll benefit, the initial cost is justified and then it's a question of not if, but when they'll move forward.

*I invite you to comment here and/or email me directly with requests at Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (, please check it out when you have a moment. Note all posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.

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