If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, it’s highly likely that you’ve had a run-in with at least one “nibbler”. You know, those people who nibble at the deal you just made.
Nibblers are different than Hagglers. Hagglers want to haggle over price and enjoy the sport of trying to get you to lower your price. Some people haggle because it’s part of their culture and they are trained from birth to never, never pay the list or the asking price for anything. Others feel that they’ve got nothing to lose by asking for a better price, and all too often they are right.
Dumb as it may be, lots of salespeople will drop five or ten percent off their price just because they are asked. This is completely crazy! Not only is this a very bad habit to get into because you are giving away your profits, but you’re also training the customer to haggle with you the next time he wants to buy whatever it is you’re selling. If you gave him ten percent last time, he’s going to want fifteen percent the next time.
What these price-dropping salespeople fail to realize is that whenever they give away a dollar, they just gave away a dollar of profit, not a dollar of cost. It’s the profits that pay the salaries, keep the lights on, and keep your company in business. Give away too many of the profit dollars and eventually you no longer have a business.
Many salespeople feel that if they don’t give the prospect something, they won’t get the sale. Say it ain't so! Don’t they believe in the value of their products and services? Don’t they believe in the list of reasons why people should do business with them? If they truly believed in what they were selling, they would not give away the value they are claiming.
While sometimes it’s true that people buy on low price, selling on price is never a good way to build a long term relationship with your prospect. It would be better to convince the prospect that whatever you’re selling is worth the price rather than just lower the price to whatever the prospect feels it's worth.
For poor salespeople who only have one crack at making a sale, and who are unlikely to ever see the customer again, dropping the price is their primary selling tool. In general, selling on price is a poor habit to get into. And we all know it’s easy – so easy in fact that selling based on lowest price could truly reduce your organization’s overhead, as an outside sales force would not be necessary or could easily be replaced by junior reps who demand lower pay.
Nibblers are those people who don’t quibble about your price and will appear to be ready to buy, but just before they get out their checkbooks or write up the purchase order, they start to nibble.
It usually starts out with the prospect saying, “Now that you’ve made the sale, would it be possible to throw in a….?”, and they ask for a concession of some kind. It’s so easy and tempting to go along with the nibbler because, after all, you can already taste the order. It’s yours. All you have to do is just give this little concession. Beware! That first nibble was just that – the first.
Then comes, “Oh one more thing. Do you think you could….?”, and another nibble has just been taken out of your hide. Once the nibbling process has begun, it is difficult to stop because each piece is so small that each little concession doesn’t really hurt. It’s only when the nibbler has finished nibbling that you realize that you’ve been attacked by a human piranha and there is very little left of the profit in the sale.
It’s like a bad joke about how do you eat an elephant? The answer of course, is one mouthful at a time. How do you get the best of a salesperson? The answer of course is one nibble at a time.
There is no doubt that the nibbler is worse than the haggler. With the haggler, you know that the haggling comes to an end as soon as you either put a stop to it, or you cave into it.
With the nibbler, you never know when it will stop. Just when you think the sale is in the bag, the nibbler pops up for another nibble with, “Just one more thing....”, and the game continues.
You can stop both the haggler and the nibbler very quickly and effectively. If you are asking a fair and honest price for what you are selling, and you believe in the value your offering has for the prospect, then all you have to say to his request for a price reduction or a nibble is:
“I really wish I could. Unfortunately, I can’t. What would you like to do?”
That’s it. Nothing more to say – don’t elaborate, explain, justify, or defend. Say this sincerely and with a smile on your face, and what you’ll find is that most prospects will respond with “Well, I had to ask” or “There’s no harm in asking.”
If you feel compelled for whatever reason to give away money or something else, remember the negotiation rule:
“Never give something away without getting something of equal or
greater value in return”
Get a concession from the prospect first before you begin to give stuff away. If the prospect wants something from you, he should give first. It’s called the Law of Reciprocity. If you want to get, you have to give. What can you ask for? Perhaps more volume, early payment, a longer contract…something. Even getting a solid and highly qualified referral might be acceptable, depending upon the size of the concession the prospect wants from you.
Consider this - You are selling your product today for exactly what you think it’s worth.