Q. Dear Zenagos,
I’m in my first sales job, and I always get nervous when customers ask the price. How do you do it?
It is common for a salesperson to be anxious about stating the price. It may be your experience that stating the price causes the prospective buyer to drop out of the sales process, which is disappointing. However, if you allow a fear of stating the price to grow, you may start to make larger errors, like discounting the price unnecessarily.
Build the Relationship First
Before you state the price, it is important to build a relationship with the prospective customer. Make a warm greeting. Try to develop some rapport, and ask about the customer’s needs. This takes some patience, especially if you have a tough sales quota. However, there is no substitute for building a warm relationship. People give their business to salespeople whom they like.
Understand the Customer’s Need
Before you can sell your product, you need to understand your customer’s pain or problem they wish to solve. Ask questions, learn what they have tried before and what is most important to them. With this knowledge, you will be able to position your product as a potential solution to their problems.
Articulate the Value
Once you understand the prospective customer’s needs (and have repeated them for confirmation), demonstrate how your offering meets those needs. Sell the value. Customers object to the price when they can’t perceive the value of the offering. If you can explain how your offering meets the need – providing real value for the customer – then price will become a less important issue.
Believe in the Value
When it is time to state the price, say it clearly and then stop talking. Believe in the value you are offering. If you immediately follow the price with a bunch of chatter, the prospective customer will see that you doubt the value and will be influenced by your doubt. If you haven’t already convinced the prospective buyer of the value, it is too late to do so after stating the price. State the price and then smile. Wait. There may be an uncomfortable silence. That’s okay. Wait for the prospective customer to make the next move.
Address Objections with Confidence
The prospective customer’s next move may be to state an objection – about price or about something else – and that’s all right. You know the best way to address each objection, so you are in a strong position. Address the objection and then ask for the sale: “Shall I go start the paperwork?” If you get another objection, continue this cycle of addressing the objection and asking for the sale until the prospective customer is ready to buy (or produces an objection that you cannot address immediately, leading to a later follow-up). Have confidence that you know what to say.
You know intellectually that you can’t win every sale, but that doesn’t make it easier when you lose a sale after stating the price. Do your best not to give that moment too much power. If you have done your best to articulate the value of your offering – and you truly believe in that value – you will win your fair share of business.
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