When and How to Raise the Topic of Pricing with Customers
I talked to a CEO of a PR Firm recently who wanted to know when and how best to bring up pricing in a sales conversation. She asked: “Should my sales team avoid that topic until we’ve had a chance to sell value and get the prospect excited about our solution? Or should we bring up price early in the process so that we can disqualify prospects who are clearly a bad fit?”
The exact right time in the sales process to provide pricing depends on the complexity of your solution, how much discovery is necessary to propose an effective solution, and a variety of other factors. Regardless of those factors, salespeople almost universally put off talking about pricing far too long. Or maybe never talking about it at all.
At the conclusion of successful and effective sales conversations, too many salespeople say five words I dislike very much: “I’ll send you a proposal.”
Why is this bad? They just connected effectively with the prospect, uncovered pain points, communicated value, and generated authentic interest in their solutions. Then they leave the sales conversation riding high on the customer’s enthusiasm and interest in their solution. But they have no clue if the prospect can afford or will pay their price.
Many salespeople confess relief at being asked for a proposal vs. being asked for their price live in the sales conversation. That relief stems from discomfort talking confidently about pricing and money. They would rather the “safety” of emailing a proposal rather than facing a potentially negative customer reaction and rejection live.
The thing is: if the customer is going to react negatively to your price, they will do it live or after you send the proposal. The customer’s reaction won’t differ, but you will waste far less time and effort if you get that reaction sooner. Save yourself the trouble of putting together a proposal and all the work that feeds that process. Save yourself from the “touch base and follow up” hamster wheel and eventually getting ghosted because the price is out of reach for them.
If the complexity of your products and services necessitates following up with a proposal after some preparation, design, etc., I recommend sharing a pricing range with the prospect in the sales conversation so you can get a sense on the spot about their reaction to that price.
Stop avoiding the topic of price. Stop taking the easy route of sending pricing through email. Get it on the table early enough in the sales process that you don’t waste a lot of time with the wrong prospects.
Curious how to have this conversation? Check out this video to see how I recommend doing this.