“A price increase, now?! Are you serious? You can’t be serious, right?. It won’t be accepted, we’ll lose business. No way!”
Price increases are not always entirely welcome.
Your sales team, who work their patch, understand their customer and know the market, will give you a thousand reasons why your price increase suggestion is the most ridiculous thing since the, erm, last time it was suggested!
Whatever the strategic, or tactical, business reason for a price increase, and there are obviously many, sales teams invariably regard it as bad news.
So, as emotional as this subject is, it needs to be handled with delicacy, although with the counter balance of a firm hand.
Anticipating this objectionable mindset is the first step in managing a successful introduction. And to anticipate it, is to acknowledge it, and not shy away from the doubts and protests.
Bringing the team together into an open forum is the first stage in introducing the dreaded P word. And being direct and straight to the point, introducing the suggestion and listening to the oppositions begins the almost cathartic relief of the initial protestations.
It is the empathetic viewpoint taken by the senior team that allows this process to work. Understanding and unlocking the mindset of the individuals is essential to developing a forum that will produce the desired outcome.
So, begin the process with the pitch. “we are taking a 2% price increase across all products beginning in the new financial year”. Then listen.
Document all the reactions, all the objections, every reason why it can’t happen and wont work, treat it like an exorcism and don’t shy away from any suggestions.
Once it is all on the table, split everyone into teams and get them to work solutions to the objections. Then watch.
What you will see is a transformation of objection and resentment, to actual ownership. The teams build solutions, challenging each other and arriving at an ideal.
The same people that were outraged, become owners and are excited about the challenge: can they go out and actually effect the increase.
Acknowledge the mindset, unlock it and then work on the skills development to change it. If the mindset is not changed then the behavior wont change.
To hear this technique in action then listen to the Uspire webinar – “Pricing Increases – How do you set your Commercial Function up for success”