You know what it’s like. You dread it. You’re still not sure just how to handle it. “It” is mentioning price, and getting this reaction:
• “Frankly, that’s just not in line with what we are thinking.”
• “Uh, that’s gonna be a little too expensive. A lot, actually.”
• Raised eyebrow…pained look…
Most sales books call this an “objection.” But “objection”—to most of us—sounds like a debate, or a trial. It seems to call for a counterpunch, or a way to “overrule” the objection.
Instead, think of it as a cry for help. Here’s someone who sounded pleased at the prospect of buying something, until—they felt a roadblock. The name they give the roadblock is “price”—but they themselves often don’t know what that means. They need your help.
You don’t know what it means either—but you know it’s one of five things.
a. That’s more than I had expected, I’m disappointed;
b. That’s more than we had budgeted for;
c. This [product/service] is not worth that much to us;
d. That’s more than your competitors have been quoting us;
e. I will not pay more than the lowest price anyone else pays.
In certain situations, every one of these meanings can be overcome. In others, any one of them can shut down the sale.
Your job is not to get the sale. Your job is to help the client figure out what “too much” means, and then jointly arrive at the right answer. Which may include a sale for you—or not.
The point is to do the right thing for the customer—that starts with helping clarify what “too much” means.
How do you clarify which meaning the customer intended? Well, you could print this blog out , carry it with you, and hand it to the customer. Or jot down the list. Or read it aloud.
The point is to honestly say, “look, there could be several meanings to what you just told me. Please help me narrow it down, and let’s talk about it.” Then talk about it—as if you were trying to help a friend decide.
The trust principles of collaboration and transparency apply here. If you help them make the best decision, and are open in doing so, then you gain trust. If you gain trust, you slightly improve your odds for this sale; but you go to the front of the line for when they do need what you have.
If it’s more than they expected, help them understand the market.
If it’s out of budget, explore the usual options—other funders? Next year’s budget?—and gracefully accept the answer, whatever it may be.
If it’s value, you can have a fine conversation about the source of value—and again gratefully accept the answer, whatever it may be.
If it’s about competitive perceptions, be as open as legally permissible, explain exactly how you price, how and why you discount. If you don’t have a good explanation, be prepared to gracefully accept…
Finally, if the customer just wants to get a “deal,” share as openly as you legally can just what your deals have been. Acknowledge and validate the need to “get a deal”—give them the best deal you can, and explain why it’s the best you can do.
Trust-based Selling doesn’t guarantee you the sale. Of course, neither does hard-sell or bargaining techniques. What it does do is greatly increase your chances of sales you should be getting—both current and future. Not to mention helping your clients.
You become trusted by becoming trustworthy—worthy of trust. And you do that by always doing the right thing for the customer.