Selling a Service? How to Prevent and Overcome Price Objections
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Considered par-for-the-course in service sales, price objections from homeowners and other prospects happen every day in the trades. But how do you best respond to a customer’s price objection, or prevent them from happening in the first place?
While there’s no silver-bullet approach to success, one key factor makes a huge difference to first understanding those price objections, then overcoming them, says Jerry Hanessian, Principal of New Construction at ServiceTitan.
What’s the key factor? Value.
“You haven’t given enough value to whatever you’re selling, whatever service you’re providing, or whatever product you’re installing,” Hanessian says. “Once negotiations start and you haven’t brought value, then you’ve lost control.”
Hanessian, a sales professional with 20-plus years in the trades, also works as a life coach, public speaker, and driven motivator. In a recent ServiceTitan webinar, he shared his foolproof strategies for not only overcoming price objections from customers, but also ways to prevent them.
Key takeaways include:
How to create value with a prospect before presenting options.
The best way to respond to price objections when they do happen.
Additional service selling tips and tactics.
Why customers object to price in the first place
Hanessian says there two most-common price objections from customers:
“It’s too expensive.”
“We’re just not ready right now.”
Others might say:
“I need to discuss with my spouse.”
“I need more time.”
“I found a lower price.”
“The internet says it should cost this much.”
No matter the objection, it’s important to understand three things before your company answers a customer’s call for service or repair, he says.
The customer called your service company for a reason.
The customer already knows 80 percent of what you’re going to tell them about price or service, because they’ve already researched information online.
Now, the customer is waiting for you, as the service expert, to give them extended knowledge about that particular repair or service.
“When you come in and you have not provided all of the information that’s going to help them solve their problem—that’s not creating enough value,” Hanessian says.
First, make sure your team understands and believes in the service or product you’re trying to sell. Then, train them to understand who your customers are, what their needs are, and how to best sell the true value of your services.
“Our customers know more than what we think,” Hanessian says. “Take a step back and understand who you’re selling to—down to that individual or business—then, understand what problem they’re going through in order to create that solution for them.”
Prevent price objections by showing customers value for your services
Recently, Hanessian spoke to the owner of a chain of dental offices about signing up for an HVAC service maintenance agreement. At the end of his presentation, the owner told him he wasn’t ready to sign a contract yet, because he was in the process of restructuring his business.
“I said, ‘That’s great. When do you think you’ll be ready?’ He said, ‘In about two to three months.’”
That’s when the wheels started turning for Hanessian to identify “the why.”
Why was the customer interested in calling the company in the first place?
What would a service maintenance agreement do for his business?
Would it help save the customer money?
Would it help decrease labor costs?
“It’s about asking the questions, trying to understand the problems he was facing,” Hanessian explains. “He knows what our services are going to do to help him. If he’s wanting to wait, I need to find out the why. Is it the money factor? Does he feel there’s not enough value?”
Explore how much time and money the client might save with a service agreement, and help them calculate an actual dollar amount. Then, simply point out how much money they’re not saving—despite such a small investment—by waiting three months.
“Look, they called you. They want the product, they want your service. Now, it’s a matter of you guiding them, because you’re the expert,” Hanessian says. “Show them the value.
“They need to understand from every angle what your product is doing for them, what solution it’s creating, then you can counter any objections they throw at you,” he adds.
Connect with customers to create value
Before trying to solve the customer’s problem, try to learn as much as you can about them. Train your CSRs to ask pertinent questions, search online for property records, check for information on social media, and make mental observations as you pull up to the property.
For example, Hanessian once did a ridealong with a comfort advisor and noticed a Los Angeles Dodgers icon painted on a sidewalk in front of the home. Knowing the customer was a Dodgers fanatic helped him make a connection through their shared interest in sports—before any sales or service discussion.
Why do you want to establish a connection before selling? “Because that’s going to bring their guard down,” Hanessian explains.
Then, you listen. Let them tell you about their complaints and issues, so you can assess the proper solution. Take note of other areas where you might be able to help the customer, and educate them about every option.
The same approach applies when you’re selling over the phone. Let the customer speak and really listen to what they’re saying. Imagine you’re sitting at their kitchen table, asking the questions together, then answering the questions and coming up with solutions together.
“When you’re in the home, you’re selling the solution or the final outcome, not the product,” Hanessian says. “By listening to them, you’re getting as much value back to understand what their problems are and how they want to have them fixed.
“That’s giving you all the information you need to fuel up that fire and be able to put it out. Boom!”
Mindset mastery is huge
As the expert or professional, you understand and believe in what you’re doing and what you’re selling. Essentially, you’ve mastered your trade, and now you’re being asked to come into a home or business and educate the customer on what they need.
“You’re the problem-solver. That’s why they called you,” Hanessian says.
And when you believe in something and appreciate its value, it also becomes part of your mindset and fuels your fire to succeed, he explains.
“If you don’t believe in it, why are you selling it?” Hanessian asks.
“You’re going to get the negotiations, the rejections, and the objections. By not believing in it, you’re not going to have that hunger, that fire in you to keep going. Mindset mastery is huge.”
Your sales team needs to believe in your product in order to:
Know the value it brings.
Connect with and sell it to the customer.
Convince customers to believe in you and your company to do the job right, because that’s why they called you.
After all that, the customer still objects to the price
You’ve done your best to provide all the value you can for the customer, but they still come up with a final price objection.
“This is the most difficult part,” Hanessian admits. “Let them continue talking. Let them express to you everything they can possibly think of that’s a concern, why they’re not going to buy from you.”
Oftentimes, as the customer talks, you’ll glean more information about how you can help them and provide more value from the interaction. Stand your guard on price, he cautions, and just know you’re not going to close every deal, because not every customer is the ideal customer for your company.
“The next person will buy from you, and they will be ready to buy,” Hanessian says.
Other selling tips and tactics …
Use the ServiceTitan software platform to organize your business, especially if you’re in a growth pattern.
“ServiceTitan allows your business to get organized, to streamline, get full access at any time to forms, sales tools, follow-up processes, tracking of techs … it’s absolutely amazing,” Hanessian says.
If your CSRs make or finalize sales over the phone, train them to know what questions to ask and make sure they understand how your product creates solutions. “Ask as many questions as you can,” he says.
If you provide a bulk price to the customer and they want a breakdown of labor costs by the hour, give it to them. Show value for every aspect of the service, repair or installation, including drive time.
Don’t offer a discount if the customer signs today. This discredits your hard-working techs and sales team. “Give your team all the tools to create value and the solution,” Hanessian advises.
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive home and commercial services business software solution built specifically to help companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.
Ready to learn more about what ServiceTitan can do for your business? Contact our team to schedule a demo today.