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When Should We Give the Price?

We give our price to our customers when they ask for it. We must structure our calls so that the customer does ask for our price. Many sellers enter conversations with customers giving them every detail of their (the seller’s) proposal, including price, leaving the customer with nothing left to ask. The customer then says, “Thanks, I’ll get back to you.” We, as sellers, are then left frustrated. When we discuss the positives of our proposal, leaving the price out, the customer who is interested is compelled to ask, “What’s your price?” From here, we are in a selling conversation. We are in a dialogue. Isn’t dialogue what we want with our customers?

As sellers we are not information dispensers. We are information sharers. We share information with customers who are willing to share their interest or desire with us. (I will share my price if you share some interest in my offering.)

In competitive markets, often the price we give is only used to keep our competition honest. We should only give prices to customers who are thinking of buying from us, not to customers who are “shopping our number.” We have nothing to hide, but we don’t need to advertise our price to non-customers who are going to take our price to our competitors and use it against us.

We give price after building value:

Seller: “John, I’ve got a great deal on sheathing today. We are selling it well and the market is moving in our favor. We feel the market is strong and have many customers who are buying.”
Buyer: “That sounds good. What is your price?”

We give price after establishing customer need:

Seller: “John, we’ve got a great deal on sheathing. Are you needing any sheathing right now?”
Customer: “I may, what is your price?”
Seller: “John, the price is the icing on the cake, but before we go into that, how much are you going to need in the next week or two?”

The customer is king. Then what are we?

Many sellers have the attitude that the customer is king. This attitude is fine. This tells us what the customer means to us. But what do we mean to the customer? What is our role in their mind? Are we just someone they are using to keep their favorite supplier honest? Is that the position we want to be in? Absolutely not. We want to be an equal with our customers. We want to be their trusted advisors. We want to be kings also. We are in competitive markets. Holding price gives us the opportunity to compete. Holding price creates a “vital tension” that is good for a sales call. Giving price before interest has been shown eliminates the possibility of us even competing for the order.

Giving price to customer’s before they show interest makes selling a one way street. It is our responsibility as sellers to make selling a two way street. Holding price will help us do that.

When we are in the middle of building value or trying to establish need many customers will interrupt and ask, “What’s your price?” Here are a few responses we can use to hold the customer off until we have built value/established need with our customers:

1. “That’s the good part, John, but let’s discuss the other points of this item first. You’re going to love the price.”
2. “That’s the icing on the cake.”
3. “You’re going to love the price, but let me tell you the details first and see if this item will work for you”
4. “Do you need it?”
5. “The price might vary depending on when you need it to ship or how many you need to buy. When do you need it to ship? How many do you need to buy?”

Some customers will become irritated when we don’t give them a price immediately. Holding the price can be a delicate move. But it is necessary. We need to deal with our customer’s irritation in a positive, confident way. Won’t we be irritated if we give a price and the customer says, “Thanks, I’ll let you know”?

The structure of a sales call is important. Holding price until our customer shows interest will create a structure that is more advantageous to us as sellers. It doesn’t guarantee victory, but it does guarantee that we will be in more sales calls and less “thanks for the information” calls.

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