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Discuss, Don't Just Send
Unless you don't have a choice, don't send pricing until you have discussed it with the client. Many salespeople conclude sales meetings by offering to send pricing without having first discussed it. Whether it is because 1) they want to avoid conflict, 2) they are not comfortable discussing pricing, or 3) they don't understand the power of the dialogue in connecting price to value and setting the client's expectation level, many salespeople opt to send pricing and thereby lose the chance to position value.
Link Price and Value
The best way to protect your price is to link price with value. Once you have fully identified needs and clearly positioned your solution to the client's needs, is the time to position pricing tied to the value the client will gain. Even if the client doesn't ask about price, you should initiate the pricing discussion non-defensively, for example, ask about budget or suggest going over the pricing terms. If you must work up the price, use a follow-up phone call to go over pricing vs. simply sending it.
As you discuss price, be confident. Many salespeople lose their footing when price comes up. If necessary, practice positioning price in front of a mirror. If you appear to lack confidence, you will invite price resistance. Of course don't be arrogant, but confidently position your price or terms wrapped in benefits tailored to the client's needs. Link your price or terms to the value the customer gains to create value justification. After you confidently state your price/terms, be silent - the first to speak is the first to fold. When you include pricing in the proposal, do so in a way that clearly shows all the client is getting.
Position the Pricing
When you present pricing in a proposal or send pricing information as a follow-up to your pricing discussion, think about how you format it. Salespeople have lost deals because their pricing was presented in a confusing way or a way that made them seem more expensive. For example, they may include bundled options within the price, which may make them appear uncompetitive because they are including options competitors have not included. Or they may unbundle when bundling in the particular situation would best show savings. Or they may provide totals that include options that the client may not choose to buy.
Linda Richardson, founder and CEO, of Richardson a global sales training company, author of nine best selling sales books, and faculty member at the Wharton School, is the driving force behind the Richardson sales curriculum. visit www.richardson.com or call 215.940.9255.
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