Discussing Price to Qualify Prospects
Discussing price, in your sales process, is difficult. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, sales people and small business people feel uncomfortable bringing up the price of a product or service. We feel more comfortable discussing benefits, features, and finding out about our prospects needs.
It is silly that money is difficult to bring up. We are discussing a product or service for our prospect to buy. They don’t expect it free of charge so a discussion of the cost needs to be part of the process of buying.
Finding out whether a prospect has the ability to pay is an important part of qualifying a prospect. Discussing price as early as it is appropriate can save you, and your prospect, valuable time especially when your prices are much higher than what they can pay. You can disqualify them and move on. Finding you don’t have a qualified prospect late in your process costs you time; time which can be better spent with prospects that are a good fit for your product or service.
How to Bring Up Price or Money
If we bring up the discussion of price in the wrong way, we can come across as clumsy and lose trust that we’ve built with our prospect. If we come across as apprehensive or apologetic you’re not going to come across as confident and you can derail the process because you won’t be present with your prospect.
The number one mistake we see when bringing up price is a sales rep asking, “What’s your budget?”
This is a terrible question.
First, your prospect might not know. They may be near the beginning of this process and have no idea what it could cost. I’ve walked into car dealerships without a “budget” per se.
B2C prospects will resist this question especially early on. They will be in a more defensive mindset until they establish a rapport and start to build trust.
Second, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of our product or service, we should be looking for the best fit for the prospect. As the person conducting the sale, we should be experts in our field. Finding “something” that fits their budget, might not be the prospect best option.
Third, we need to do business with our target market. This means people who can and are willing to pay for the value we present. If one of our biggest selling points is that “we can fit any budget” then we’ve failed to communicate value.
Fourth, their budget doesn’t give you enough information. The question isn’t how much they can spend; the real question is how are they going to make their purchasing decision.
The Real Question
After learning some things that you need to know (this will be different for any product or service) ask your prospect, “How are you making your decision to buy?”
B2C prospects, for the most part, won’t know the answer. You might be able to help influence how they make their purchasing decision, which will benefit them. It opens the door to a more meaningful conversation about their needs, wants, pain, etc. You’ll be able to, at least, bring up price ranges in a more meaningful discussion.
Notice I didn’t say to try to manipulate them to buy from you. In fact, if you go down this road with them it may very well lead both you and the prospect to conclude you are not a right fit for them. Which is fine – they’re not a good prospect for you.
For example, if they are making their decision based solely on low bid, and you know you won’t be low bid, you need not waste time. Or perhaps you can bid low and now you know you need to.
Asking this question in a B2B sale leads naturally to other questions you may have – like – who’s the decision maker? It lets you set up a conversation to better understand how things will go on their end as you move through the process.
Again it will lead to bringing up price within the context of a more meaningful conversation.
Your sales process should do two things – eliminate unqualified prospects quickly and lead qualified prospects to a yes or no decision.
“How are you making your purchasing decision?” will allow you to have a better conversation and get more things onto the table. Price is, of course, part of how they will make a decision. Now price is on the table as part of a bigger discussion and they helped put it there.
You can also get other information about what’s important to them and their pain points as part of this bigger conversation, which would be more difficult to get as individual conversations.