Lee Salz

Article Summary:

How successful sales persons resolve price objections by understanding the customer’s concerns and resolving them.

Price Objections: Can They Be Overcome?

Can price objections be overcome? The answer is no. The truth is that the price objection cannot be overcome. That is because it isn’t intended to be overcome. It is meant to be resolved through thought facilitation by a sales person. The sales person’s role is to help the prospect work through the price concern as opposed to attempting to overcome it.

First, can we agree that it isn’t really an objection? It is a concern. I know that many sales books call it an objection, but it is not. It is an attempt by the prospect to resolve financial questions in their mind. People want to feel good about decisions they make and that is why concerns are brought up.

The mistake many sales people make is that they think they understand the prospect’s concern when the price issue is initially raised. A fatal flaw, indeed! The truth is that the cause for this concern isn’t initially known. A myriad of possibilities could be causing the customer’s concern such as:

  • Is it a question of how much use they will get of the product?
  • Is it whether or not they can afford it?
  • Is it that they saw a similar product at a cheaper price?
  • Or is it a sales person being hyper-sensitive to the mere mention of price?

There are others, but you get the point. The bottom line is that without knowing what is causing the price concern, you can’t possibly help the prospect work it through. To share a personal example, I live in Minnesota where owning a boat is commonplace. To me, however, it is expensive. It isn’t the price of the boat, or the cost of maintenance, or even the price of the slip. It is the fact that the season for boating is so short that I don’t feel I would get enough usage out of it to make it worth the financial investment.

On the other hand, I bought motorized cars for my three kids. Each one had a $300 price tag on it. Expensive to some, but cheap to me. Why? Because I’m rich? No, it is because my kids use them a lot! From my perspective, it’s worth every penny! If I get significant utility out of something, I can justify the price in my mind. At the other end of the spectrum, like most parents, I have also bought tons of toys in the $20 price range that have been used once, maybe twice. After that, the toys are never touched again. To me, that is expensive.

Some other price concerns center on whether or not the prospect can financially afford the product. A good sales person will facilitate the conversation that helps the prospect to recognize the options available to them for financing the purchase.

In other scenarios, the prospect has seen the same product, or a similar one, at a lower price. The human mind tries to make everything into an easy to understand commodity. When I worked in employment background screening, prospects would compare a $9.95 database search with a comprehensive courthouse search. The comparison of the two was apples and oranges. The strong salespeople were able to explain the difference in a way that led prospects to see that they needed the comprehensive search. The $9.95 search can be perceived as very expensive since you rarely catch any bad guys with it.

The worst case is when the salesperson does not believe that the product is worth its price tag. If this hits home for you, I highly encourage you to look to be somewhere else. If you don’t believe in your price, I guarantee you that no one else will either. If you believe that all sales ultimately come down to price, help me to understand this:

  • Why doesn’t everyone buy generic drugs?
  • Why do people buy bottled water when they can get it for free from the tap?
  • Why doesn’t everyone drive a Yugo?
  • Why are people buying satellite radio when there are plenty of good stations available for free?
  • How come most people have cable or satellite television when they can get a dozen stations for free?
  • Why isn’t everyone shaving with a single-blade disposable razor?
  • Why isn’t everyone drinking generic coffee?
  • Why isn’t everyone fighting to sit in the last row at the ballgame?
  • Why do people even go to a ballgame when they can watch it comfortably for free in their living room?
  • How did your company get any clients at all?

I think you get my point. Thus, you really do believe that someone will pay more if they feel the purchase is worth the price. Maybe you can’t afford the product you are selling. That is a completely different issue. There is a great expression that goes along with that. “Don’t spend the prospect’s money.” You don’t belong in their shoes, so don’t put yourself there. You never truly know a person’s financial situation.

No one wants to get ripped off. And everyone wants to brag that they got a good deal. If you can master the facilitation of the discussion around the pricing concern, you will inherently have more sales.

Lee B. Salz is a sales management guru who helps companies hire the right sales people, on-board them, and focus their sales activity using his sales architecture® methodology. He is the President of Sales Architects, the C.E.O. of Business Expert Webinars and author of “Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager.” Lee is an online columnist for “Sales and Marketing Management Magazine,” a print columnist for “SalesforceXP Magazine,” and the host of the Internet radio show, “Secrets of Business Gurus.” Look for Lee’s new book in February 2009 titled, “The Sales Marriage” where he shares the secrets to hiring the right sales people. Lee is a passionate, dynamic speaker and a business consultant. He can be reached at [email protected] or 763.416.4321.

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