If given a choice, I’d always prefer to sell the premium priced service or solution.  Why?  Because quality still matters to a lot of people and they are willing to pay for it.

This all may sound a bit counterintuitive these days, given that most things seem to be available for free, or at a minimum you can try them out for free.  But being the contrarian that I am, I submit that there are many people and companies that want the highest quality solution or service and they inherently value it.

When I started my sales career 25+ years ago selling key telephone systems for Lanier to small and medium sized businesses, we were taught to observe what kind of furniture, equipment, office decorations, etc. the business had during our in person cold calls.  That’s right, in person cold calls:-)  When we saw small businesses that had the high end copier, office furniture, decorations, etc., then we knew that they valued quality and were an ideal target for Lanier since we were the highest priced phone system with exceptional customer service.

I would group people and companies into three buckets:

  1. Those that inherently value quality
  2. Those that don’t value quality and are only concerned about the price
  3. Those that were burned by a recent lower quality experience and now have found religion around quality

The key for sales teams is to discern through their qualification and discovery process which type of person or company you are dealing with.  It’s paramount to know which customer type (i.e., values quality or doesn’t) you are engaged with if you are selling the higher priced product, service or solution.  It dictates how you sell to them; in fact it even provides the clear signal for customers and deals that you should walk away from.

What are some leading indicators that should inform you as to the type of customer you are dealing with?  Ask questions around how important price is and why.  Ask for examples of recent decisions they have made where they went with the highest priced product, service or solution and why. Ask for recent examples of experiences where they have been burned by lower priced and lower quality products, services or solutions.  How did those lower price and quality experiences impact them and their business?  Everyone has scar tissue related to poor customer service or inferior quality product experiences.  The key is to find them, the more recent the better, and leverage them to remind the customer why quality is so important and valuable.

Please share your thoughts and experiences on customers that value quality.  Happy quality customer hunting!