“We don’t have the budget for this right now.”
“I can get this cheaper somewhere else.”
“It’s too expensive.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could go into every conversation with a plan for dealing with objections like these?
Pricing is one of the most common sales objections that salespeople have to deal with. Sometimes it’s a legitimate objection. Sometimes it’s hiding something else. Sometimes it’s a stall tactic.
No matter what the prospect is really thinking, you need to be ready to overcome this objection—without getting flustered—and make the sale.
Here are five ways to overcome pricing objections the right way:
1. Allow a few seconds of silence.
Being silent might not seem like a great sales strategy, but the world’s best salespeople and negotiators know that it’s indispensable.
It’s understandable to balk at this idea. People get uncomfortable during lulls in conversation. No one likes awkward silence, and people will do anything to fill it.
Prospects will often give you valuable information to relieve that awkwardness. They might tell you their true objection to the deal (we’ll get to that in a moment). Or reveal that they’re willing to pay a bit more than they let on at first.
Taking a moment before you respond to the objection also helps you avoid a common mistake in this situation: immediately offering a discount. Don’t give in to this temptation. There’s a lot more talking and negotiating to be done.
Take a breath and give your prospect 3–5 seconds of silence. You might be surprised by the information you get without saying anything.
Once the silence has passed, move on to these next tactics.
2. Understand the true cause of price objections.
Not everyone objects to price because they can’t afford what you’re selling. In fact, many people open negotiations with a price objection because it’s how they were taught to negotiate.
So when you hear a sharp intake of breath and “Ooohhhh . . . that’s more than I was expecting,” don’t immediately go into save-the-sale mode.
(On a side note, “that’s more than I was expecting” isn’t really a price objection. The prospect is just sharing information with you. And they might be using silence to their advantage hoping you’ll immediately offer a discount.)
There are lots of reasons a prospect might initially object to your price. Here are a few:
- They don’t understand the value of your product.
- They’ve gotten a lower quote from a competitor.
- The timing is bad for their budget.
- They’re trying to feel out your flexibility.
- They actually can’t afford your quoted price.
Each of these situations requires a different approach. So you need to find out which one you’re dealing with.
If a prospect doesn’t understand the value of your product, you might carry on with your typical sales pitch. If they don’t have the budget for it at the moment because of timing, you’ll take a different tack.
Ask the right questions.
How do you find out what your prospect is actually objecting to? By asking questions.
As you spend more time in sales, you’ll develop a unique set of questions that helps you discover underlying objections.
Here are a few you might try:
- “Is this a budgeting issue?”
- “Is price the main thing keeping you from making a purchase?”
- “What benefits would you need to see to make this price reasonable?”
- “How much did you have in mind?”
- “If you could see a $100,000 return in two years, would $20,000 seem so expensive?” (Using your own numbers, of course.)
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask directly: “Why do you say that it’s too expensive?”
This might catch some people off guard. But it may prompt an answer that helps you move on with the sales process.
Try asking questions like these that get to the heart of what’s making your prospect uncomfortable with the deal. Then find a way to address the real concern.
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3. Emphasize the return on investment.
Savvy buyers don’t look for the best price—they look for the best value. They want a good return on their investment. As a salesperson, it’s your job to reassure them that they’ll get more value out of your product than they paid for.
There’s perhaps no better way to show that you’re providing a good value than with case studies. If a prospect sees that one of your customers has gotten great value from your product, they’re more likely to believe that they’ll get that value, too.
The more case studies you have in your repertoire, the better. (Here's how to create effective case studies.) A trucking company might not be swayed by a case study of a pet store. Give your prospect the most relevant case study you can.
For example, we have a blog category on copper.com/blog that's dedicated to case studies.
Convincing statistics show the expected value of your product.
Facts and figures can be useful here, too. People generally don’t like to hear a litany of numbers, but there are effective ways you can use them.
For example, sharing the average ROI of your product is a convincing tactic. Or you might have a few examples of companies that weren’t sure if they should buy—and then got great results. These kinds of stories are highly effective.
A similar option is to ask your prospect what it costs to not purchase your product or service. Let’s say you’re selling a piece of software that automates scheduling hourly employees.
You might ask, “How many hours per week does HR spend on scheduling your hourly employees?” If your prospect tells you that they spend 15 hours, you can confidently say that your software will save them 15 hours every week.
That means not buying your software costs them 15 hours of work every week. It’s hard to say no to that.
Sprout Social uses this idea to great effect with the Bambu reach calculator:
By showing the real value of your product, you can help prospects see that their money would be well spent.
This argument requires that your prospect has the information you’re looking for. And that you integrate it into a compelling argument on the fly. That’s not easy. But with practice, it’s an effective sales technique.
4. Make sure the prospect understands the cost.
Even if a prospect understands the value your solution represents, they might not understand why it costs so much. They might not be able to get past the fact that it costs more than they expected (or more than a competitor’s options).
Your best bet is to have a ready explanation of why your product costs what it does. You might give an overview of what it costs to produce your product or all the people who are involved in providing your service.
To be able to explain your costs, you’ll need to know why your product costs what it does. And that means talking to whoever knows that information. Your supervisor, the product team, the CEO... chase down that information and have it at the ready.
Once you’ve delivered this explanation, there’s a good chance that you’ll hear one of the sales world’s most dreaded responses: “But [competitor X] is cheaper.” Or, even worse: “But I can get this for free from [competitor Y].”
This is where you need to know your competitor’s products and services. What kinds of compromises will the prospect make if they go with your competitor? Tell them which features they’d be giving up by going with an alternative product.
If you have stories about companies who’ve switched from that competitor to your product, this is a great time to bring them up. (You can also ask directly about the offers and negotiating status of your competitors to get more information.)
Challenge your prospect on the cost.
If you’re feeling confident, you can use a brash—but effective—sales tactic: ask what your customer would like to remove from what you’re offering. Now you’re offering to save them money, but they have to make a compromise.
This is best used with services or modular product solutions. For example, if I were selling you a software package that included three apps and 24-hour support, I’d ask, “Okay, which part of that package would you like to remove from the deal?”
It’s a confrontational question. But it’s also a great way to get your prospect to reconsider how much they’re willing to pay for what you’re offering.
5. Get prospects to the buying stage—and get ready to deal.
The sales process is all about moving your prospect toward the buying stage. Here are a few questions you can ask to make that happen, even when your prospect had objected to your price:
- “What price would we have to meet at to get an order in today?”
- “Would a volume discount make it easier to buy?”
- “What, besides price, makes you hesitant to order?”
- “What can we do besides lower the price that would help you buy today?”
These particular questions might not work for your business model. But they give you a good idea of how to ask questions that move prospects toward the buying stage.
Be ready to make a deal.
If your price is problematic for the prospect, you may have to cut a deal. That’s when negotiating skills come into play.
Let me take a moment to emphasize what I just said there: negotiating. Negotiating isn’t discounting. Discounting is giving your prospect the full product or service for less money. Negotiating means making compromises on both sides: the provider and the customer.
So you might exchange a lower monthly price for a product with fewer features. Or you could offer a slight reduction in price for a case study or testimonial.
The key here is to work with the buyer. They should see you as a partner, not an opponent, says psychologist Sherrie Campbell. Remember that you’re both trying to get a satisfactory result—for both parties. You’re establishing goodwill, not trying to take advantage of each other.
Your company probably has specific rules on how much room you have to negotiate. Familiarize yourself with those rules and be ready to put them into action.
Get comfortable dealing with price objections.
Dealing with price objections can be a nerve-wracking experience when you don’t have a plan. But with the steps above, you can discover and address your prospect’s real concerns.
Remember that price isn’t the only objection you’re likely to come across. There are lots of other concerns that prospects will voice—and not all of them will be solvable. (Here’s how to deal with that.) And beyond those, there are all sorts of other things you need to do to close a sale.
Want more tips on overcoming price objections? Check out our guide to value-based selling!