Prospect: "What's it cost?" Sales Rep: Answer right away or wait?

During discovery calls or demos when the prospect asks "What's it cost?", how do you handle this early in the discussion?

I've heard competing views:

1/ Answer: "Well, here's our transparent pricing page, ranging from $50 per user to $500 per user. As you can see there's a lot of variance between our packages and in order to get you the right package, let's dig in to where you're at right now."

2/ Sidestep: "It's important to understand your business goals and if we're even a fit before we look at pricing."

3/ Don't Answer: "We'll get to pricing at the end of the conversation."

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    • Profile picture of Kris Johnson
      ( 290 POINTS )
      2 weeks, 2 days ago

      I think the best way these days would be 4) Give them the information in an as accurate a way as possible, followed up with a question to better understand where they’re at or what else is part of the decision criteria. Buyers are smart, they’ve likely been down this path before, they also are equipped with more information than ever and may even have estimates already.
      Each of the 3 tactics could come across as salesy and frustrate your audience.
      In turn, you have an opportunity to gain trust, lower the barriers for acquiring further information, and differentiate yourself along the way.

    • Profile picture of Joe Latchaw
      ( 3.5k POINTS )
      2 weeks ago

      I feel it is best to uncover the business goals before getting into pricing. From experience, if you can explain how your product/solution can alleviate x, they will tend to not worry so much about the cost. By mentioning cost right away, they may write you off before even hearing what you have to say.

      Hope this helps!

    • Profile picture of Sean Sheppard
      ( 730 POINTS )
      2 weeks ago

      In my experience, it largely depends on how well pricing has been defined and established for your product or service in a given market. The more defined the pricing the less risky it is to share. On the other side, the less defined, the more clearly defined the need and solution must be before sharing a price.

    • Profile picture of Casey Buckley
      ( 280 POINTS )
      2 weeks ago

      With good discovery you should be able to get an understanding of where they are at in their process. If they are early in their review I’ve found a range is a helpful answer and you can educate them on where your pricing falls compared to competitors and why, whereas if they are further along being more descriptive is likely what they are looking for and not going to leave them hanging.

      I also use that response as an opportunity to get something in return to ask about their review/budget process.

    • Profile picture of Will Greene
      ( 350 POINTS )
      2 weeks ago

      Get it out of the way as soon as you know you have a fit for a need.

      If you are uncomfortable doing the talk, build a set of workflows for yourself that do things to approach it casually or round-about. LIke .. “do you have a budget already” “what kind of ballpark costing are you looking for” etc. You can be vague to kind of sketch in numbers and find out, then you can share some independent stories of other models similar to say what it costs in those scenarios, so it’s depersonalized etc.

      There’s an art in here that I don’t know, but you definitely do not want pricing to show up last minute and the prospect is like “uh-oh, let me think about that” when you are far into the process. Loss of momentum and traction at that phase will cause you to lose the deal.

    • Profile picture of David Lambert
      ( 220 POINTS )
      2 weeks ago

      Directionally the text book answer is to defer pricing conversations until you better understand the business need, the customer/client maturity level and their ability to comprehend the solution/impact. That said if the product is in the low range of investment I think it is ok to be direct and share that information range. If in the higher range (such as solutions which start at $100K) AND where the client has no prior experience (for example if they have not purchased a like solution before) you should provide a range followed by the value clients have realized. The fact is if they ask directly – I think it is best to give an answer wrapped around the benefit and examples of companies in the industry/similar size which are benfitting.

    • Profile picture of Adrian Wong
      ( 0 POINTS )
      2 weeks ago

      If you’re transparent about it yes.

      If not and that is what your company holds close to the chest, provide a range.

      Or turn the question around to them and ask them what range they were thinking about and you can tell them if you are within their range or not. You also want to qualify them in or out.

    • You probably knew I wasn’t gonna let this one go by without chiming in! 😁 There’s so much behavioral science around this, including a recent study in the Journal of Marketing Research (October 2020) that proclaims that the answer is clearly A – Regardless of whether it’s a transactional sale or an enterprise-level sale. As the seller, as every word is coming out of your mouth, the buying brain is matching it up, constantly assessing that question – is the juice worth the squeeze? If our brain doesn’t know what “the squeeze” is going to require, the brain cannot properly consume your positioning of the value of “the juice”.

      “Based on what we know about your organization and initial discovery, the investment is typically in the $X – $Y range. We’ll dig in deeper throughout the process. If that price range is way off, let’s talk about that right away, too. If it turns out it’s a non-starter, again, we also can save each other a ton of time.”

      You’ve just (a) built trust by playing your cards face up, (b) helped the buyer’s brain’s filing system get set up to consume the “why you’re great” messaging. And if you’re way off – one of you is in the wrong conversation.

    • Well, this is a consistent issue we all deal with. My initial reply is, “not too be brash, Mr Prospect, it’s been my experience that in today’s World, too many people Know the price of everything … and the VALUE of nothing!” That said, “let me share with you an overview of our services … we structure our programs with a “Good; Better; Best” perspective and I’m sure after we explain the different level of service, depth, and breath you’ll find an investment in our Companies products is competitive, affordable and flexible.
      Now, Mr. Prospect, le me ask YOU a few questions … to which I satisfy my requirements for them to qualify in my eyes:
      1. Are they a Decision maker (sole)
      2. Do they understand my business enough to “know what they’re looking at”
      3. Do they have a budget funded to be able to purchase our services

      IF they meet all (3) … we talk; If not we politely end the interview.

      Best of everything with these tips … it works for me

      Thanks, Bill

    • Profile picture of michal junas
      ( 380 POINTS )
      1 week, 6 days ago

      Hi i have goo?in england?
      Or where is my place?

    • Giving ballpark ranges I think is ok and in some cases, suggest some (not all) businesses do that even on their website. With that being said, if you have a customizable product or service it takes thorough discovery to fully understand how you’re going to solve problems for your client. In those more complex cases then I would give them a starting at the price if they really press hard on that topic. You also can leverage that to disqualify a buyer early on that may not be a good fit. Unfortunately, I think “it depends”.

    • Profile picture of Katie Ray
      ( 3.9k POINTS )
      1 week, 6 days ago

      I feel like a lot of people will say “if you’re talking about pricing then you didnt really prove the value of your product”- but I think that’s silly! I really like Answer #1. I think it is important to be transparent but also remind them that if we can dig a little bit deeper, we can really show what this will look like.

    • Profile picture of JP S
      ( 330 POINTS )
      1 week, 6 days ago

      Answer right away, build transparency. Never ever side step customer queries by beating around the bush or answering tangentially. By answering confidently and promptly you will exhibit and display confidence in your product/ service which the customer will appreciate.

    • Profile picture of Jamie Neroni
      ( 300 POINTS )
      1 week, 6 days ago

      Depending on what you’re selling, I’ve seen the following be successful. I believe it’s from a Sandler training but can’t perfectly recall:

      Typically, our customers fit into three buckets: $15-30k, 35-75k, and over 100k — and then ask, “where do you think you fall into those?”

      Of course, you adjust the buckets to reflect your products ASP – but could be a good way to still talk about price, without fully talking about price

    • Until you have done a diagnosis and know that you have a solution to the prospect’s pain, then the price is irrelevant as they are not going to buy anyway.

      If the solution is a good fit, and it solves the prospect’s problem and hopefully generates more revenues and you can show an ROI, then price also becomes much less of an issue.

      If a prospect is asking for a price quickly, they likely don’t feel you are showing value to them, and are just looking for an excuse to get off the phone.

    • Be confident giving them a ballpark and a floor. “Best and worst case”

      I liken this to selling sports cars…. If you walk into my showroom and I say “Look at this new Maserati” but don’t give any sense of price, as I’m showing you the car all that’s in your head is “Can I afford this?” You’re waiting for the surprise and I as a rep have no way to control the eventual surprise.

      If I say “Looks at this new $200k Maserati”, I have set an expectation of what the car is valued at, so now your question becomes “is this Maserati worth $200k?” which is easier for me to control.

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