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By Alice Alessandri

I like to think of a sales negotiation as a dance that follows a harmonious rhythm, moving smoothly towards its natural conclusion: the sale.

Yet in my personal and professional experience, I have observed several times that the negotiations stop abruptly when the time comes to give the price, or rather, when the price is NOT given.

I’ll explain. Many salespeople do their best to omit this information while talking about everything else; they discuss all the features of the product or service they are presenting but do not say how much it costs until the customer – who has been thinking of this alone since the opening of the negotiations and trying to peep at the price on the label or in the quotation – has the courage to ask how much it costs.

It is the salesperson who leads the dance, accompanying the customer with care and respect along the path that proceeds from the analysis of their needs or wishes, to guide them towards finding the right solution in the product or service offered in exchange for an agreed amount.

not give the price

They are afraid of the reactions that this information will trigger in their customers to the extent that, as in the best self-fulfilling prophecies, they themselves create the conditions for a negative outcome. Maybe they whisper the figure or they blush or become pale from the strain, their voices trembling as they gaze into space.

So, here are three tips to effectively manage the moment when you present the price.

1. Present the information neutrally

thinking priceUndoubtedly, you have yourself experienced a situation in which as a reply to your simple question “How much is it?”, the answer has been a series of, “Er, um, so, you know … (sigh) this is a bit expensive actually!” A salesperson who makes such a statement should not be surprised if the rest of the negotiation is spent trying to defend the value of the proposed product/service.

You must state the price in a neutral way, using a precise, friendly and confident tone.

If you whisper the price you give the impression that you are expecting a negative reaction from the customer. If you declare, “it must be about 50 or 60 Euros” before checking the exact amount, customers will remember the most advantageous figure given and it will be difficult to get them to pay the actual amount due.

The price is a feature of your product or service, it is not a state secret and not even an embarrassing question; it only becomes so if you are not convinced of the value of the product/service.

2. Carefully choose when to communicate the price

If you state the price immediately, the customer will not listen to the rest of your presentation; if you give it as the last piece of information, only this will be remembered. The ideal solution is to present the price within the context of the advantages; for convenience, you can note this pattern:

  • Presentation of 1 or 2 features linked to the relative advantages
  • Notification of the Price
  • Presentation of 1 or 2 features linked to the relative advantages

In this way, the customers’ attention will not be fixed only on the price but also on the advantages and benefits that will accrue. The customer must then be able to decide with confidence and clarity whether to exchange that amount of money with the pleasure or usefulness that the product/service can provide. The professionalism of the salesperson, therefore, plays a key role in helping the customer make this decision.

3. Suggest the alternatives in the right order

priceHow much were you thinking of spending?” is a question you should forget. The answer the customer gives will strictly limit the negotiation, making it nearly impossible to sell something that costs more than the figure publicly stated [to learn more about the principle of “commitment and consistency” we suggest you read Robert Cialdini’s “The Psychology of Persuasion”].

Thus, if there is more than one alternative that meets the customer’s requirements, you can choose between two possible approaches:

  • present the product/service with the intermediate price, and based on the reaction of the customer, go up or down.
  • present the most expensive product/service and then come to lower options until finding the right one for the customer.

In your next negotiations and sales try out this new way of presenting the price; check your own reactions and those of your customers. Selling will be easier and more fun for everyone. But if the client rejects your asking price right out? Try reading the article, “What can I do if the customer judges me purely on the basis of price?”.

camp-me-upDo not forget to register at Camp Me Up, the free event we are organizing on the 8th October dedicated to networking and training. Follow this link to fill out your registration here.

| partem claram semper aspice |

Alice Alessandri

Consultant and professional trainer, I define myself as an "odd computer scientist": I graduated in Computer Science and immediately opted for the sector of interpersonal communication. In over a decade of experience as an entrepreneur, I laid the foundations for what would become my most important project, Passodue: a consulting and training company that combines profit and ethics, professional success and happiness. Together with Alberto, I help companies to take their second step towards a success based on ethics and sound relationships.

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