March 22, 2012

Jos. A. Bank TV Spots and Lack of Price Integrity Cost Them a Customer – Me

I can’t do it anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I like a good deal as much as anyone. But enough is enough.

I was getting dressed last week while Mike and Mike were on ESPN2 in the background. Another obnoxious Jos. A. Bank commercial came on and my sixth grade son started making fun of their ridiculous sale. Let’s just say it was hard to wear my Jos. A. Bank suit that day.

I’m a sales coach and consultant. I charge a premium for my services. I am continually reminding salespeople not to lead with price. When I bought my naughty Volvo S60 T6 last year, I was so impressed with the professionalism of the salesperson and the experience at the dealership that I gave in early during the negotiation and was happy not to get the best deal on the planet. They earned my business; they didn’t need to “buy it.” My good friend and GoTo Sales Guru, Mark Hunter, just released a great book published by AMACOM (http://thesaleshunter.com/high-profit-selling/) called High-Profit Selling. Mark hits the nail on the head with his subtitle: Win the Sale without Compromising on Price!

Having said all that, Jos. A. Bank, I am sorry. In good conscience, I can no longer shop at your stores. Where is the integrity in your pricing model? What’s that suit I bought worth if it comes with six bonus items, or if I get two suits free my purchase? How am I supposed to feel good about myself with your logo on the inside panel of my jacket? What if someone sees that logo right after watching one of your goofy TV spots – while I am berating them to start selling value and stop making it about price???

Salespeople: When you lead with price, that’s all you’ve got. There’s no going back to professional problem-solving and value-creating. Live by the sword; die by the sword. When you start with price, you communicate that all you think matters to the customer is price. Frankly, if price is the central issue, as so many salespeople complain that it is, the hard truth is that the salesperson isn’t really an important factor. A salesperson’s job is not to go out and and ask customers (as I see so many do), “Let me quote that for you and see if we can do better.” That’s pathetic – much like Jos. A. Bank’s perpetual circus-style sales.

The professional salesperson’s job is justify the delta between their premium-priced offering and the lower-priced competition.  How well are you doing that?