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Getting Sales to Break Bad Pricing Habits

Some music teachers tell their students, “Practice makes perfect.”

And then they assign their students scales, exercises, and pieces to practice over and over in the hopes that they will eventually perfect them.

Really good music teachers tell their students, “Practice makes permanent.” In other words, if you do something the wrong way over and over again, you will develop a habit that will be incredibly hard to break. On the flip side, if you do it the right way over and over, you’ll eventually be able to perform the piece without much thought at all.

We often see sales teams get this wrong when it comes to pricing and negotiation.

They think that if they keep going out there and signing deals, they will eventually get it right. But if they keep practicing the same bad habits over and over again, they aren’t ever going to learn any better.

Even worse, those bad habits are probably helping them win some deals, so they are getting reinforcement for doing it wrong. It’s like a young violin student who consistently plays out of tune. If their parents always clap for them, they will think they are doing a great job and won’t have any motivation to improve.

The first step in breaking a bad habit like this is to recognize that you’re doing something wrong. For a music student, that might be a little brother who says, “Your playing sounds like a dying animal.” For a salesperson who is bad at negotiating, you might have to convey a similar message (but hopefully with slightly more tact).

And you’ll also need to train them in how to do it the right way. That will require not only some initial instruction, but follow up with correction when necessary to keep them on the right path.

This can be a tricky process to navigate, but PricingBrew has some resources that can help:

  • To understand salespeople better, check out The Pricing Practitioner’s Primer on B2B Sales. It provides an overview of how salespeople think and operate, as well as explaining some basic sales processes.
  • To minimize hurdles so sales is more receptive to new ideas, watch Reducing the Friction Between Sales & Pricing. It offers some tips for creating mutually beneficial, flexible solutions to common problems, as well as giving good advice on developing effective inter-personal skills.
  • To help sales becoming better at pricing, we recommend the aptly named Getting Salespeople to Price Better. It analyzes the psychology that’s behind a lot of pricing decisions, and it provides some field-tested guidance from other B2B pricing teams that have successfully improved their sales teams’ price performance.
  • To learn how to giving sales the guidance to make better pricing decisions, see Delivering No-Brainer Pricing Guidance To Sales. It explains how and when to give your sales team exactly the information they need to negotiate the right prices.
  • To teach sales how to be better negotiators, you should Exposing the Secrets of Price Negotiation. It unveils a ton of helpful tips and techniques and explains how to get this information to your sales team in a way that will encourage them to make use of it.

Good music teachers also tell their students, “If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well.” And helping your team develop better habits will definitely be worth it in the long run.

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