We've all been there before: In spite of your well prepared sales pitch, your proper attitude toward your product, your company, and your price, and in spite of your control over the situation, the customer throws a monkey wrench into the works: “Too expensive!” “Is the price negotiable?” “Can you go any lower?”
So what now?
Don't Lose Control of the Game
Does your standard sales rebuttal sound like this?
“Too expensive? Compared to what?”
“Compared to other offers.”
“To which offers?”
“To companies A, B, C, and D.”
“Yes, but you see, we’re giving you better service and better extras.”
Upon which the customer counters with his killer argument, “Come on, you know the offers are practically all the same.”
What do you do now? Anything you say from this point onward will be nothing more than a justification. And that’s how the downward spiral begins. The moment you’re on the defensive, you can only play catch-up, because you’ve relinquished control of the game. Your role, however, is to always control the game. Otherwise you're not a salesperson but a mere distributor. So forget this kind of price negotiation. With this “expensive-compared-to-what” tactic, you’re wasting your breath.
Don't Contradict the Price Objection
Your only other option is to make clear to your customer that you stand behind your price. Don’t even try contradicting the “too expensive” argument. You are expensive and that’s a good thing. Instead, when the customer says, “That’s too pricey for me,” agree with him and say, “You’re right, it is pricey. It’s pricey and high value. High value because...” and then elaborate on the benefits of your product or service for the customer.
There are two important things here that make it work. First, the repetition of “high value.” Second, the discussion of the benefits for the customer will only be effective if you’ve done your homework on the needs assessment of the customer, his motives, wishes, hopes, and demands. Otherwise it will fall flat.
Thinking on Your Feet
A hardy ego and the unwavering conviction that you are offering the right product is half the battle. The other half is thinking on your feet. The rebuttal to the price objection should come instantly. Thinking on your feet means intelligence at high speed. Does that mean that you have to be a quick thinker by nature? No. There is no “speed gene.” It doesn’t have to run in your family. Being quick-witted simply means being well-prepared.
You know how quick thinking works? Just learn twenty stock phrases by heart, verbatim, as you would learn your multiplication tables. When the customer says, “Too expensive,” you draw on one of those twenty phrases, the first one that comes to mind. You say it instantly, without hesitation, swiftly but clearly, firmly, and resoundingly. And that should suffice.
Come up with your own list of twenty sales rebuttals, or feel free to draw on some of the following:
- “The other offers are cheaper – and they deserve to be.”
- “Discounts are the first signal of bankruptcy – are you sure you want to go down that road?”
- “Quality comes at a price, and that price includes me.”
- “If you pay 100%, you get a 100%. If you pay 90%, that’s what you get.”
- “If competence is too pricey for you, then wait until you try incompetence.”
- “Cheap dreams lead to rude awakenings.”
- “I can assure you, nobody is paying less than you are today.”
- “Thrift is good, but quality is better.”
- “Lowballing is not a sport I play.”
- “You’re also buying our blood, sweat, and tears.”
- “Go with the cheaper option, and things will really get expensive.”
- “The price is a reflection of our experience.”
- “How motivated would you be working for $10?”
- “If you want to haggle, try the flea market.”
- “This is not a yard sale.”
- “Cutting the price means cutting the quality, and that is not an option for us.”
- “The grass is always cheaper on the other side.”
- “Discounts don’t fit in our budget.”
- “If I give you a discount, you may as well give me a donation receipt.”
- “It would have been cheaper without this ... and that ...”
Take your pick, but be careful: Not every phrase is appropriate for every customer or every sale. Try them out. And make sure to deliver them with a smile and a twinkle in the eye.
By Martin Limbeck, international sales authority and sought-after keynote speaker, dubbed 'The Porsche of Sales.' With his best-in-class German Sales Engineering approach, he helps sales professionals seal more deals. Martin has trained and inspired audiences in twenty-one countries for more than twenty years. The Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) has been honoured as Top Speaker of the Year 2014, International Speaker of the Year 2012, and Trainer of the Year 2011 and 2008. He teaches at Reutlingen European School of Business, Steinbeis University Berlin, and St. Gallen University, and is the author of several bestsellers, including NO Is Short for Next Opportunity: How Top Sales Professionals Think.