How many times have you entered a sales call, shook hands, sat opposite the prospect and then got shot in the face with “What’s this going to cost me?” or something along those lines. Talking to a free lancer friend of mine the other day, I realized that the instinctive reaction is actually to blurt out number. In some cases I have coached sales reps that not only give a figure but also proceed to apologetically justify it. If this is your instinct, DON’T FOLLOW IT!
Nowadays, managers and business owners, the people you should end up selling to, are busy and possibly harassed by sales reps. They have heard it all before and either know what they should expect to pay, or think they do. Even if you are selling on price and you are confident that you are the cheapest, don’t try to blow them away with your rock bottom price. The buyer’s instinct is to knock you down a few notches.
So, here is one of the rare cases in sales for which there is a golden rule which is also black and white: Never start your pitch with a price. Whatever you say, the response will be something along the lines of, “That’s way too much”, “Your competitor Blahblah Inc. just gave me a much better offer”, “That’s too much for our budget these days” and the list goes on. If you are in sales, then I’m sure you can add another three or four without batting an eyelid. And, by the way, the person opposite you will be right to respond this way. You didn’t take a second to build up the value of what you are selling. Why should they assume it exists?
When confronted with the how-much question, brush it aside. One response could be, “I’m not here to quote a price. I’m here to build a relationship. If we can agree on everything else, I’m sure we will agree on the price”. Something like that. You should then proceed to go through your well rehearsed presentation of the benefits he or she will receive by choosing your offering. Highlight the efficiency it supports, the economy inherent in it’s use and sketch a picture that shows the long term benefits which, of course, by far out-weigh the number at the bottom of the invoice.
Remember, if you don’t build up the value in the prospect’s mind, whatever the price, it will always be too high.