Talking about price too early in the conversation is dangerous! If you concentrate on giving a better price during the sales cycle, you can fall into the trap of discounting and becoming a commodity.
But how often is price the first thing a prospect wants to talk with you about? If you’ve been in sales any length of time, you’ve heard it more than once. When a prospect asks you that, is it ever really about price?
Very seldom is the final determining factor price. Now, there are probably some times that it is. But most of the time, people care about more than just price. But they need something to talk about where they feel like they have some frame of reference, some degree of control.
But when you immediately start discussing price, you’re not following your system any longer. And really, when a prospect starts with asking about price, it’s typically because it’s a huge part of their defense mechanism against salespeople. And your goal should be to get past those defenses and have a real conversation.
One strategy you can use when someone asks about price is a concept we in Sandler call stripping line. You’re giving them just a little information, then letting them go.
When David Sandler had the idea to apply stripping line to sales, he was actually fishing. And when you strip line when fishing, you’re giving the fish more of your line, and let them go more initially. The fish goes farther and gains confidence. And when it’s finally time to set the hook, it’s easier for you to set, and it’s going to set deeper.
So when someone asks what your rate is, there are a lot of different options you can go with. You can encourage them to look around and compare prices. You can warn them that you’re not the cheapest. You can ask them if price is all that matters.
Really, you just need to be prepared for the question and have a response ready for them. The only real challenge is when you’re not prepared for it. Then you stumble and fumble, trying to think too much on your feet. But if you’re prepared, you sound much more confident. If they’re a good fit, they’ll want to talk with you longer.
And if they’re not a good fit, you want to disqualify them as a prospect early on. If they’re looking for the cheapest, and you don’t want to be the cheapest, tell them you’re not the cheapest. Otherwise, you’ll waste their time and yours.