5 Mistakes Salespeople Make When Discussing Price
Conversations between salespeople and their prospects range from the mundane to the dramatic, as the complexity of human interaction is usually on full display. Exceptional salespeople don’t fear these conversations and are happy to follow them wherever they lead, while remaining focused on their end goal: getting a prospect to sign.
The one conversation that makes most salespeople nervous, however, is the one about price. This nervousness usually stems from a belief that discussing price is an inflection point where the deal could go south, leaving them deal-less, quota-less, and, at least according to their lizard-brain, out on the street.
But salespeople shouldn’t fear discussing price. Instead, they should be ready for the conversation, making sure that they handle it correctly instead of making unnecessary (but common) mistakes.
Here are the five things you want to avoid doing when discussing price:
1. Avoiding the discussion
Some salespeople think that avoiding the price discussion will make it go away, so they take great pains to steer the conversation away from price, or hold off as long as humanly possible before getting down to it. Not only is this an ineffective strategy, it’s a complete waste of time. If you avoid the price and budget discussion, then you might spend hours talking to someone who doesn’t have the budget for your product, which is a poor use of everyone’s time. Don’t avoid discussing price, especially if the prospect asks.
2. Not tying the price to value (or the cost of doing nothing)
When providing the price, it’s important to tie it to what the prospect is going to receive, or what they’ll lose if they don’t move forward. This is something that takes a little finesse, but providing the price on its own is not enough. Make sure to remind the prospect of the features and benefits of your product, and, more importantly, the problem that your product solves. If you don’t, the only thing they’ll think about is the number you give them, which will rarely get you to a closed deal.
3. Giving vague or overly complicated answers
If you think a prospect won’t notice you giving shrouded answers or muddying the waters, you’re wrong. Some salespeople think that a partial answer will be enough, while others think that if they launch into a long diatribe of every conceivable pricing combination then the prospect will give up their inquiries. Both approaches will most likely backfire. Provide the price (with context), don’t make it overly complicated, then move onto the nuts and bolts of your value proposition.
4. Negotiating price over email
According to a recent article by Devin Reed, it’s perfectly fine to provide a price over email when requested. But things get hairy when you try to negotiate the price over email. The reasons for this are multi-fold. Reason one is that prospects will often use emailed price negotiations to get a better deal somewhere else. Reason two is that written communication can often be misunderstood by the recipient, creating unnecessary conflict. And reason three is that negotiating over email gives the prospect unlimited time to respond, not a great place for a salesperson to be. In any case, the trick is to use email and the phone. Send the price, but don’t negotiate.
5. Not believing their product is worth the cost
Despite what many people think, salespeople aren’t actors. This is why few of us are able to convince prospects that something is worth the price if we don’t believe it ourselves. There’s nothing more detrimental to a sales career than selling a product you don’t believe in or one that you think is overpriced. The solution is to either get your company to lower the price, convince yourself that it’s worth it, or to find a job selling something that you believe in. Or, you could always go to acting school.
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