the Customer Starts with Price
customers want to finish a sales
call before it even gets started.
calling back. Listen… I just want to know how much a programmer
costs an hour.”
I’m not interested in a sales pitch. What’s the bottom line?”
“I just had a quick question…
how much is the data monitoring subscription service?”
If you answer
with a price, you’ve lost. Customers who focus solely on the bottom
line often haven’t thought out the full implications of their question.
They’re asking for a small part of the big picture. As sales
professionals, you need to put the brakes on those questions
in order to answer them properly and accurately.
Why is it important not to answer the
price question straight off the bat?
· You May Be Quoting the Wrong
Price – if you throw out a price, chances are it will
be the wrong price. How many does the customer want? What model?
What are their
challenges? When do they need them? Do they want options?
If you don’t have the right background information and just throw
out a number, chances are you’ll be providing inaccurate data.
· You May Have Given Them a
Reason Not to Choose You – Let’s say the product is the
most effective product ever made in the industry. It easily outperforms
the competition and allows construction projects to complete ahead
of schedule 9 out of 10 times. Yet, the customer may hear a price
before knowing those benefits and immediately think, “wow, that’s
too expensive!?” When you start with price, you usually end with
price. Not knowing the reasoning behind the price usually equips
your customer with a reason to say, “No,
· You May Not See the Big Picture
– Often, a customer
may contact you regarding a product thinking you can only meet
one of their requirements. They may be interested in a much larger
set of requirements, many of which you can meet. Without
the appropriate data, you might be missing out on a much bigger
opportunity. At the same time, the customer may not choose you because
they think you’re a “one-trick pony”.
· They May be the Wrong Person
– Ask a few questions about the business issues that are driving
the need for a purchase. Find out how a service needs to be provided.
Ask about budgets and
payment requirements. Soon, after hearing “I don’t know” half-a-dozen
times, you’ll realize you’re talking to the wrong person. Those
who ask for price without wanting additional information are often
“tire kickers” or information gatherers. They do the digging but
don’t have any authority to make
· You May be Dealing with a
Devious Caller – Acme Dynamite may be a real company.
It may not be. Once in a blue moon, the
call you’re receiving from Acme Dynamite may be a
competitor – a coyote in roadrunner’s clothing. Answer the question
without digging a little deeper and you might be lighting Acme’s
fuse. Before you know it, the call will blow up in your face now
that a major competitor knows your
How can this
be done? Here are a couple of examples…
“Before I provide you with a price, do you mind if I ask
you a couple of questions?”
be glad to help with pricing but I want to make sure I have a bit
of information from you. I want to make sure that I don’t quote
you a price that is too high.”
“I can tell
you about the cost of the subscription service but I want to make
sure we’re talking about the same service.
Can I ask you a couple of quick questions?”
works quite well and most customers will allow you to ask a few
questions. Granted, you may need to ask a dozen questions but getting
permission for a couple is the first step.