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The best response to "What's your price?"

Tags: Be interesting | Meetings | Impact | Sales | Influencing

3rd July

A question everyone dreads – when the customer asks "What's your price?"

Do you go high, and later wish you'd gone lower?

Or go low, and later wish you'd gone higher?

Offer a discount? Don't?

Even worse, the customer often asks about price early in the conversation. Before you’ve agreed how you can best help them, and the value they’ll be getting.

So, what's the best answer to this dreaded price question?

Well, there are lots of options. But my favourite one is this:

       Customer: “What's the price?”
       Me: “I’ve no idea.”

They always respond with “What do you mean?”

To which I reply “I’ve no idea because I don't know what you want yet. And I'd hate for you to pay for something you don't need. So please can I ask a couple of quick questions first, to better understand what you need? I'll then be able to tell you the right price.”

I like this approach because both of us benefit:

  • The customer: They benefit because they aren't paying for something they don't need. And, when I tell them the price later, they see it in the context of the value they're getting. So it's much clearer and easier for them to make an informed Return On Investment decision. This helps them feel more confident with their choice
  • Me: When I talk about price later on, it’s in the context of the value I'm delivering. So it's more likely to be received as it’s intended – as a small percentage of the value they'll get. So I feel more confident too.

The trouble with discussing price early is that you don't know what they want. So you can’t price accurately.

In fact, when customers start conversations with ‘What's your price?’, that's like you going into a restaurant and asking "How much is your food?"

The waitress will reply "Well, it depends what you want to eat."

It’d be strange if you replied to this with “Look, I'm just shopping around. Don't hide the price. I just want to know how much your food is.”

So, there are two very useful pointers about price here:

  • Go late – mention price after it's clear what the customer wants and the value it’ll give them; and
  • Go valuable – make sure your price is small compared to the value they’re getting

That way, you both win.

Action Point

Review your diary – when’s your next pricing discussion?

Before it, work out how you’ll respond when they ask about price. Will you use my ‘I don't know’ approach? Something else?

Whatever you choose, don’t just blurt out a price that feels too low to you; but sounds too expensive to them. That’s just never going to work...