How Does the Salesperson Affect Price Shoppers and Negotiators?

My friend, Dan Caramanico, is one of the authors of The Optimal Salespersson, a book Selling Power said is one of the ten you should read in 2010. Dan read my article about the Difference Between Selling to Negotiators and Price Shoppers and sent me this question:

This is a great distinction.  Any suggestion on how you can tell one from the other on a sales call?  I know what the effect is if you hire a salesperson who is a price shopper.  Any way to tease that information out of your data?

Dan, I believe they are fairly easy to distinguish.  When salespeople have a discussion about money, price shoppers usually make it very clear what their intentions are.  On the other hand, negotiators don’t usually advertise their intentions in advance. Instead, they’ll negotiate after they have received a proposal.

Now the second part of your question.  15% of the sales population shop for the best price and, as a result, understand completely when their prospects want the lowest price.  What do they do?  Give it to them if they’re able!  Of course, if you listen to this group of salespeople, they believe everyone buys the way they do – they expect this to happen.  So do you think that only price shoppers get the big discount from this group of salespeople or is the group bigger than that?  Also of interest here is the 15%.  My research shows that the bottom 74% of salespeople, as customers, are no different than the population as a whole.  If that’s the case, then how come so many salespeople report that their prospects are looking for the lowest price?

I believe there are three answers:

  1. Some prospects, who don’t have to find the lowest price, ask, just in case there is a better price available. It’s not a requirement but they won’t pass it up if it’s offered.
  2. Company policies sometimes require procurement professionals to find the lowest price and that brings us to number 3.
  3. Many procurement professionals use the low price requirement as a bluff to see if they can coax a lower price from their vendors.  Some of them are paid a bonus on what they can save their companies.

Dan, does that help?