Bar none, the biggest objection a customer ever raises is price. Often they don’t comprehend the value of your solution, therefore concluding that the number you’ve quoted is completely arbitrary, maybe even greed-based. It’s true that today’s customers exist in a climate of global competition; they know how to “Google it,” etc. But information isn’t always knowledge, so they’re not necessarily well-versed when it comes to your products and services. At the decision-making phase of the sales cycle, act as a trusted advisor and guide your prospects toward a deeper understanding of how you can fill their need.
In the early stages, be prepared for price objections to rise like odors from an ancient sea chest. It’s your job to both anticipate and neutralize those objections, “Fabrezing” them with explanations that will get prospects to understand that your price corresponds, as we’ve said, to the value of your solution. Below is a list of common price objections and how to effectively respond to each.
It’s Not in My Budget
When customers are bound by a budget, they’ll naturally base their range on its restrictions. But they may also use the old budget excuse for insisting on a lower price. Be a proactive seller, throwing out a number before the customer does. And then, if you choose, ask if that price falls within the range they’re comfortable with. If the customer does trot out a number before you’ve had a chance to name your price, ask how they’ve arrived at that figure, and then explain why, based on your value proposition, you can or cannot meet them at the price they say they’re locked into.
Shock and Awe
We’ve all witnessed the wide-eyed look of shock on a customer’s face, as if the price we’ve put forward has physically harmed them. The shock can be real, but it can also be a bit of theater. Don’t cave in to their emotion, real or “academy award-winning.” Just be direct and ask why they feel your price is too high. See this as an opportunity to link your benefits and features with their needs that you should’ve uncovered by now.
The Price Is Wrong
You could say, “This product is free” and that would still be too high a price for some customers. That’s because they’re poised to balk at the price before you’ve even begun the conversation. When they object to the quote, ask them why. In order to reason with them, you need to understand their rationale. Many things can account for customers’ unrealistic price expectations, including misinformation and limited information. They may have done bad research. When they say they’ve paid less in the past, gently point out that if they’d been satisfied with their last supplier, they would not be looking for alternatives now. Again you’ve got an opportunity here to make the connection between their needs and your goods and services.
Bait and Switch
It’s sometimes the case that a prospect asks for a quote for a large order, but then decides they want a smaller order, only at the same price per unit. Never give them your answer without first reviewing the pricing based on the new scope of the order. As a trusted adviser, look at the sale as part of a whole—you’re building a long-term relationship, not cutting a deal and then never seeing them again. Get more insight from the buyer, and then build on that conversation in order to reach a happy pricing ground. Even though the order is smaller than what you’d bargained for, offer concessions. Keep the relationship going.
Playing the Urgency Card
It’s not only bad sales reps who play the urgency card; customers will sometimes make it sound like a decision has to be made right away or the whole deal is going to blow to smithereens. They might use the line, “I’ve got a meeting in one hour and need to present my options. Is this the best you can do for me?” At which point, you’ve got a choice, you can get scared and cave, dropping the price to suit the “emergency.” Or you can say, “I can’t make that kind of concession without in-house approval. If I’m not able to meet your deadline, I hope we can discuss working together once your meeting concludes later this afternoon.” If you do get a reaction from them later in the day, you’ll know they were never going to dynamite the bridge.
Buyers whose sole focus is price will try one of the above to lower the dollar amount for what they want. They may pull two or more tricks out of their bag. Don’t lower your need based on their price expectations. What they really want is a good product; they know it and you should too. Remember that price isn’t the only thing that makes a sale. What you have to offer are great goods and services—stand behind the power of your solutions. Keeping that in mind will help you stay calm. Focus on asking about their objections and addressing those concerns. Be a trusted advisor, making sure that everyone walks away happy—and comes back for more.