• The Pre-price Objection: What It Is, How to Overcome It

    June 1, 2005
    In the last installment of this series, we discussed the five most common sales objections you'll hear from prospects. They are: price objections, customer

    In the last installment of this series, we discussed the five most common sales objections you'll hear from prospects. They are: price objections, customer not convinced, customer compares your product or service to your competitors, customer is unfamiliar with your product or service, customer is unsure of product performance.

    Now it's time to reveal ways to overcome these objections. We'll start with everyone's favorite: price objections.

    "Your Price Is Too High"

    Sales professionals face a challenge that cuts across all products, services, industries, price points and geography. Falling prey to it can cause you to lose sales, profits and opportunities. What is it?

    It is simply answering the premature price question. So, even before a prospect has had time to hear the price and respond to it, this objection is raised. So you need to be aware that this "pre-objection" exists -- and deal with it.
    The pre-objection often occurs so early that you have not had the opportunity to ask questions, present your product, or even size up the situation. The jolting question often comes in a variety of forms.

    You'll hear it asked as a question, and each may have a different form and structure. But, in each case, the question is designed to accomplish the same misguided goal: To determine price without investing too much time into learning about the product and its value.

    Here are some examples:
    "Could you give me a ballpark figure on the cost?"
    "How much does something like that cost?"
    "What do you think this would cost us?"
    "I'm only interested in price, so how much is it?"
    "I don't want to talk about anything until you give me a price. How much is it?"

    The pre-objection on price is a weak method to relieve prospects from having to invest any emotional capital into the possibility of becoming enamored with a product or service that could be out of their price range, or the possibly incorrect belief that they can't afford it.

    In other words, "If I find out the price now, I may not have to hear about something I can't get anyway."

    What are your options? There are only three, and two of them are bad. You can:
    • Answer the question by presenting the price. That's bad.
    • Ignore the question. That's bad, too (plus it's ignorant).
    • Defer the answer until you are prepared to present the price. That's by far your best option.

    Nevertheless, how do you defer the answer professionally and diligently? Surprisingly, the strategy is really quite simple and logical. But first let's look at why you need to defer it.

    In the absence of value, every price will be perceived as being too high. The result will be "fight or flight." Your prospects will either feel the price is too high and prepare for negotiated combat, or simply feel that the price is outlandish and prepare to leave! (Well, actually, they start preparing that you leave. Not good.)
    On the other hand, in the rare cases where your price is always perceived as being too low you need to evaluate factors to include:

    Is a salesperson really necessary to sell low-priced objects? (Maybe you should be replaced with a vending machine. It's cheaper, and doesn't complain!)

    In the absence of resistance, perhaps your product should be priced higher. (Sounds like instant profit to me.)

    Selling is a combination of objectives (why to do things) and strategies (how to do them). In addition, certain tactics within the strategies aspect are based on the correct and specific choice of words to use.

    The bottom line is that in each case, you're trying to defer the price issue so you can correctly recommend the exact product or service. You also want to build value and present your price only as related to (a) the correctly recommended product and (b) the value it brings to your prospect.

    There are few sales issues that carry more weight than learning precisely why and exactly how to defer, and then correctly present price. This skill alone will help you maximize margins and increase sales.

    How to Defer the Price Question

    Here are 12 tried-and-true statements you can use to defer customers' price pre-objections.

    1) "That's a good question. I won't know what price to give you until I can determine the value you're seeking."

    2) "That's a good question. If price is of higher concern than value, then I can fit the highest value into your price range if you like. What would that be?"

    3) "That's a good question. I can give you the price, but I'd be doing you a disservice to keep the value a secret."

    4) "That's a good question. I have a cousin who knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing. I have vowed to always try and put the value first, and then let you decide if the price is worth it. Is that okay?"

    5) "That's a good question. From what you've told me you actually want from a system, the price will probably be (actual price plus 20%) , but I'll have to get further into this to be sure."

    6) "That's a good question. I'll need to appraise your trade-in to be totally sure of the difference first."

    7) "That's a good question. Let me get further into this to make sure I'm selecting the right system for you. If you decide it's too expensive, we can cut some things out."

    8) "That's a good question, but I need to make sure that I'm offering you the right system first. If it's out of your budget, we can drop down to the "standard" system."

    9) "That's a good question. I can answer that very quickly. but I need to know if you're more interested in price, or in value?"

    10) "That's a good question. Maybe we can look at this another way: Give me some idea of your price range and I'll give you the most value I can."

    11) "That's a good question. However, I just don't know until we look at the problems you have that I need to solve."

    12) "That's a good question. Once we figure out what system works for your home, we'll be able to figure out the price from there. Let's decide what you need first, then we'll start figuring out the price."

    Any of these should effectively halt the price issue until the appropriate time to disclose it.

    Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Readers can get a free marketing newsletter and a free 16-page report called “Get More Leads in Less Time” by faxing their letterhead with the request to 334/262-1115 or emailing to [email protected]. You can also call Hudson, Ink at 800/489-9099 for help or visit www.hudsonink.com for other free marketing articles and reports.