This is the most common objection you hear, and for some reason, most people have issues dealing with it. Often, when the client says the price is too high, people react with “oh well, next time” and leave it at that, or try to offer them a discount to entice them to buy. In my early days in sales, I remember doing the same. Companies these days are all price sensitive, but that doesn’t stop top salespeople overachieving on their numbers.
That all changed when I realized 2 things: unless you’re actually working on a tender, you’re not working on a tender! You’re selling a great product (if you’re not convinced about your own product, how can you sell it?) at a fair price, and they know it. Aside from simply trying to get a better price (that’s happened to me too often to count), this objection usually reflects one of two things: either your qualification or positioning was incorrect. Or both, of course – positioning relies on good qualification.
Your qualification is the cornerstone of your sales process. It shapes the entire conversation with your prospect, and should let you know of any issues that might crop up. It’s absolutely essential for you to get this right. At a minimum, you should discover their pains, decision makers, when they want to buy, and if they have budget allocated for this – classic BANT.
If you’ve done this well, you’ll know the basics. Now is where the true qualification starts – you need to dive into each of those factors well, and gather as much information as possible:
- Take those needs and discover if, aside from the business needs, there are also personal issues on the line (there usually are).
- Investigate their internal power structure well. What do decision makers have to do in order to sign off on something? Is someone unhappy with the consideration to buy your (or a similar) product? Is it considered necessary by all the decision makers, or are you backing a black sheep?
- Discover how their budget is allocated. What processes do they have to go through? How are they currently doing in the market? Does that affect this division? The whole company? Aside from the decision makers, who holds the purse strings?
- They may tell you by when they’d like to have your product, but this isn’t enough. What does their whole timetable look like? What other factors are involved? Are there steps or stages they must go through? What do those look like on a calendar?
As you can see, a deeper qualification will highlight a budget problem far in advance of the conversation, and you may be able to avoid it entirely. If you can’t, you’ll be happy you have a complete qualification as you pass from that to…
Once you know their needs in depth, you can move into positioning. You have two options here, which I like to take in sequence:
- Positioning against need, and
- Positioning the future (sometimes called positioning a vision).
Knowing their needs well means you can position precisely against them, showing the value of your product. This is the initial positioning, and is best done in a separate conversation to the qualification – a demo is best. This is what you use to convince them, initially, that your product is what they need.
You’ll have to have all of your points lined up well here; it’s easy to over-position and over-promise, which can lead to a difficult budget conversation. Be direct, be honest, and highlight any areas where your product may fall short.
This is also the point where you may want to break down the cost of the product you’re selling into discrete chunks (if this is possible). By breaking down the cost, they’ll have a better idea of why your product costs what it does. With that understanding they should be more open to a true budget conversation rather than immediately balking.
Positioning the future is especially important when selling complex systems or software. Your product can usually meet their needs and do much more besides. Packaging that ‘much more’ into a message which relates to how their company operates and what they plan to do in the future is a vital part of this strategy. If you’ve qualified well, you can point out how it can serve them now, as well as how bright their future can look if they buy your product.
Price, therefore, is not an objection. It usually means the client’s needs haven’t been addressed, and they are unconvinced with regard to your product. They are currently in the market, and are looking for something to satisfy a need they have now (and may have had for some time). If you do your job well, they will buy, and usually at full price (I’ll get into discounts in a later post).
I hope this article was useful to you, and, as ever, wish you all the best!
Do you agree with what I wrote here? Disagree? Did I miss something? Could I have done something better? Please let me know in the comments!