An Ounce of Prevention Beats a Pound of Cure: How to handle the "you're too expensive" objection before your clients ask it!
By Colleen Francis
"Your prices are too high."
"Why are you so expensive?"
"I have another offer, so you're going to have to do better than that!"
The dreaded pricing objection. We've all had to deal with it at some point in our careers. Regardless of what form it takes, it can be one of the most frustrating challenges sales professionals have to face.
Over the course of the next two issues, we'll be taking an in-depth look at what you can do to overcome this most difficult of client objections. We start today by tackling the question of how to prevent the pricing objection before your clients bring it up!
Deal with it up front
If price always seems to become an issue for you, one of the most effective strategies is to preempt the question by dealing with it up front.
Don't be afraid to talk about price. Train yourself to bring it up first and get it on the table as early as possible in the sales dialogue. Try telling your prospective client something like:
"You need to know that ours is not the cheapest product available. You will always find someone who is less expensive than us, and you will always find someone who is more expensive than us. We are always competitive. Knowing that we are not the cheapest, does it make sense for us to go ahead?"
When you ask this question, one of two things will happen:
- The sales cycle will end right here because the client only wants the cheapest product and you don't have it. This is good news, because there's no point wasting your valuable time with someone who has no intention of doing business with you anyway; or
- The client will say: "No problem, we're not making our decision on the basis of price alone." This will effectively eliminate the client's ability to raise this objection later on, and allow you to move forward with a high degree of certainty that price will not become an issue.
Provide an early estimate
Another way to reduce the number of times you hear "your price is too high" is by literally telling your customers your price (or an estimate of your price) before you give it to them in writing. This will allow you to deal with any potential pricing concerns in person, before your client receives a formal proposal.
NOTE: The estimate I give is always about 20% higher than I think the real highest price will be. This helps ensure I have a little breathing room later.
Have your options ready
When you're ready to talk price, have several options prepared beforehand to handle your client's response, whatever it may be. This will enable you to retain some control and momentum regardless of whether their reaction is positive or negative.
If the client reacts negatively through body language such as by flinching, shrugging, rolling their eyes or falling off their chair and onto the floor, you can ask them:
"I sense that you're uncomfortable with that price. What were you expecting?"
"You don't seem happy with that price. Have you found something lower?"
Notice that both of these questions have two distinct parts. First, you acknowledge that the client appears to be uncomfortable. This will help build trust and get them on your side. Next, you ask a direct question. You can use this formula every time you are faced with an objection.
If the client verbally tells you that your price is too high, your first move is to take a breath and remain quiet for a full three seconds. Then ask them: "I guess you're looking only for the lowest price?"
They will either say yes or no. If they say no, you can ask: "Really? What else is there?" If they answer yes, you can say: "Okay, knowing that we will not be the lowest price, does that mean we will never get the chance to do business together?"
The most powerful word for handling objections
When it comes to handling sales objections, "never" is the most powerful word in the English language.
Most people hate it. Very few are willing to commit to it. As a result, the vast majority of prospects will respond to it by saying, "well, no… not never!"
In that case, your job is simply to ask: "Really? Why?" The client will then either tell you what it will take to do business with them or ask you for something that you can't provide. Either way, this puts the control back in your hands by letting you choose between making the sale or turning down the deal and walking away.
If a client is dead set on getting the lowest price and you know you can't offer it, then you may as well end the conversation right now and get to work on deals that have a better likelihood of closing. Spending time trying to sell to someone who is never going to buy from you is both a bad decision - and a costly mistake.
Brainstorm your best answers
Finally, take some time to sit down (on your own or with your team) and brainstorm your best possible answers to every potential objection.
Practice your responses out loud until you've mastered them. Make them your own. Then review your work each quarter to make sure that everyone on your team knows which responses are working best.
If you can reduce the number of objections you receive, you will sell more. Period.
Join us for the next issue of Engaging Ideas, when we'll take a look at how you can best handle the pricing objection when it does come up….
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Make sure you check out Colleen's latest book, Nonstop Sales Boom for powerful strategies to drive consistent sales growth quarter after quarter, year after year.
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.
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