Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources manager asked a young engineer graduate from MIT, “What starting salary were you looking for?”
The Engineer said, “In the neighborhood of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.”
The interviewer said, “Well, what would you say to a package containing five vacation weeks, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50 percent of salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Corvette?”
The Engineer sat up and said, “Wow! Are you kidding?”
The interviewer replied, “Of course I am, but you started it.”
The young engineer’s dilemma should resonate with most salespeople. No issue nags salespeople more than when and how to present price. It’s hard to know where the balance is between spending enough time building value and completely frustrating the prospect by refusing to talk about money.
Due to anxiety, about half of all salespeople will even change the subject by saying something like, “I’ll get to price, but first let me finish explaining…..” It must escape them to fail to realize that buyers must have all the facts in order to make a decision. On the other hand, buyers have no desire to sit and listen to you yammer on about what you’re offering. The balancing act for you to learn is to be able to face premature price questions without sounding as if you’re ‘scared spitless.’
What could you and your company gain by participating in one of Doug’s 30 minute video chat weekly sales meetings? Reduced turnover? Increased enthusiasm? Improved usage of communication skills? Can’t promise you anything but why not at least listen to what these managers and owners gained by partnering with Doug.
While you definitely don’t want to appear dismissive, there’s a lot riding on how you respond to this request. You need to admit that the prospect has asked an important question and that you want to answer as soon as possible. You also need to reply with accuracy, so why not ask for permission to defer an exact quote until you know specifically which of your solutions will fit.
This all needs to be done quickly during the conversation so that you don’t damage the trust you’ve earned to this point.Here are three possible responses to ‘test drive’ to see if one might fit your selling style:
- “I understand that price is important, I get it. Therefore, your investment can vary depending on the specific product you choose, size and connection type, whether you want an extended warranty, and a couple of other factors. What I’d like to do is determine that first, and then I’ll give you the price right to the penny. Are you okay with that?”
- “Our prices on this item range from $1,500 to $3,000. More than likely yours will be somewhere in the middle. I’ll be able to show you an exact amount once I make a physical assessment and have you help me determine precisely which features are most important to you. Can you live with that?”
- “No matter what the price ends up being, it will prove to be the worst investment you’ve ever made if it’s not exactly what you need. So first let me make sure what I’ve got will do what you want, and then I’ll give you an exact quote. Is that fair enough?”
Notice how each of the three strategies addresses the question head-on and offers a valid customer-focused reason for NOT quoting price immediately. However, it also promises an accurate price as soon as possible, followed by asking the buyer’s permission.
©2015 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC