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The Most Important Pricing Trait?

Have you ever taken a personality test? I’m not talking about the ones you find on the Internet that tell you which Game of Thrones character you’re most like or what your spirit animal is, I’m talking about a real, scientifically valid personality test.

Psychologists sometimes give their clients a test called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which divides humanity up into sixteen different types based on four different criteria:

  • Introversion vs. extraversion
  • Sensing vs. intuition
  • Thinking vs. feeling
  • Judging vs. perceiving

In the sensing vs. intuition category, people who are “sensing” focus on the details. They get highly involved in the minutiae of everyday life, and they rarely think about the bigger picture. People in the “intuition” category are exactly the opposite. They like to think about life’s big questions and couldn’t care less if their socks match or not.

What does all this have to do with the most important trait in pricing?

Successful pricing teams are those that are able to take that big picture view. They see pricing as a team sport that involves interconnected departments and processes, not the product of a bunch of random individual efforts. They can see how everything comes together like an enormous machine. And if something goes wrong, they don’t assume that a single salesperson made a mistake, they look for a problem in the overarching system.

The bad news is that psychologists tell us only 25 percent of us naturally prefer taking the big picture view. The vast majority of us can’t see the forest for the trees.

But the good news is that psychologists also tell us we can learn to be big picture thinkers, even if that’s not our natural personality.

That’s important because viewing pricing as an interconnected system makes everything else easier. It might just be the single most important pricing trait.

Consider: if you see a problem as the result of an individual salesperson’s action, you’ll probably address the problem with that individual. That approach might seem effective at first, but you’ll probably have the same problem crop up again with another salesperson. And then another. Before you know it, you’re spending all your time putting out small fires that keep blazing up over and over again.

On the other hand, if you can visualize problems as a breakdown of the broader machine, you can address the root cause. Instead of seeing that a salesperson made a mistake, you’ll see that your segmentation model is lacking or your price bands need refreshing or the sales team’s negotiation skills are poor. Then you can address the problem with the process and prevent the same mistake from endlessly repeating.

So the next time someone comes to you with a problem, ask yourself where the process went wrong. If you aren’t sure, ask more questions and drill down until you find the root cause. This approach might take some practice before it starts to feel natural, but over time, it will greatly reduce the amount of repeat work you have to do, and it will help your sales ops team be more effective.

Of course, seeing everything as an interconnected whole is just one of many key traits in pricing. Check out some of these webinars to learn more.

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