Selling on value rather than time

Whilst I have written a whitepaper on this topic, I thought it was worth revisiting because it crops up time and again for me.  I was with a prospect on Friday and we were discussing his goals for using a business coach; we defined 3 clear outcomes.  I explained how I was going to help him achieve these desired outcomes and how I estimated it would take 7 x 3 hour coaching sessions for a fee of £x.  He was definitely interested but struggled to get his head around the fact that another coach (he was seeing 3) had already quoted 7 days to do the same work for a similar fee.

When faced with this kind of objection, I need to get the client to focus on the value at the end of the project and not the time it takes.  I often tell this dentist story:

It’s about a woman who had her wisdom teeth removed. When she received the bill, she was shocked at the cost; over £300 per tooth. When she returned for the follow-up visit the next week, she mentioned the bill to the dentist.  “It seems like a lot of money,” she exclaimed. “Why it only took you about 15 minutes per tooth.”  The dentist smiled and said, “That is exactly what you are paying for. If you want me to take an hour or more to remove each tooth, I can do that. In fact, most anyone can do that. But there is value in a 15-minute extraction.

I explained to my prospect that I believed I could deliver what he was looking for in 7 x 3 hour coaching sessions – this means we are achieving his outcome much more rapidly, being less intrusive on his ‘day job’ and helping him drive his business forward more quickly. I think at this point the light bulb went on and he started to assess things not in terms of time but more in terms of how pain-free the process would be and how quickly we can achieve the results he is looking for.

So does your business sell on time or on the outcomes and value it provides?  I would be interested to hear your experiences, so please leave a comment or get in touch.

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Rob Da Costa

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