The Art of Talking About Money and Pricing with Prospects

Mar 29, 2021 | Pricing, Strategy

Not enough salespeople enjoy talking money and pricing with their prospects.

Too many are uncomfortable with it, or even avoid it altogether to their own detriment.

Does that reflect you or someone on your sales team?

Here are insights to help your salespeople improve their conversations dealing with money. Use these at your next sales meeting to inspire discussion!

The best salespeople embrace talking about money.

Last week during a coaching conversation with John Smith, a landscape company owner, we discussed his low closing ratio (33%) and the doubt and frustration that this was causing.

After John shared his doubt, I asked questions digging into his sales process. He told me that he was quoting design fees (and sometimes consultation fees) but that he avoided collecting the money, and then lost clients after he had over invested his time in the estimating and design process.

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I told John, “You know, we had this same discussion last year.” I reminded him that we had already created a sales process for his sales team to follow.

He agreed that he had a process, but admitted he didn’t formalize it in writing, and that he wasn’t following it. (Does that sound familiar?).

John’s underlying fear is that his prospects will reject him, or even get angry with him, when he brings up the issue of money and asks for money.

Here are some highlights of my feedback to John:

1. Turn your weakness into your strength.

Because John has a weakness talking about money, I gave him the challenge to become an expert on this topic, to turn each uncomfortable conversation into an opportunity to practice discussing money and addressing it head on. He had 3 sales calls the next day, I told him to take time after each call, and assess how well he tackled money in his conversation, and reflect on where he could improve.

 Examples where this applies:

  • Qualifying upfront by talking about money and any consultation/design fees.
  • Follow through by collecting consultation or design fees up front.
  • Asking for a 10% deposit to hold a space on the schedule, if your schedule is filling up.

Turning around one’s bad money habits doesn’t happen over night, but it does happen within a 3-6 month period of continually testing, reflecting, journaling, and re-testing.

2. Help your clients discover their budgets.

There is a misconception that all clients know their budgets but they just won’t share it with you. This is not always true.

Many prospects have only a fuzzy sense of budget, and they need help articulating it. You, as salesperson, are a “consultant” first and foremost, and you must help your clients discover their budgets. You can give ranges, discuss pricing differences, and help them give voice to their thoughts and concerns.

Don’t assume the worst when a prospect says “I don’t know my budget.”

When I built my own backyard in New Orleans, even with all my experience, I didn’t have a preconceived budget in mind, I wanted my LA to tell me his ideas and thoughts and share with me what the investment would be. (Yes, ultimately, it fit within my subconscious budget, so I was comfortable with it. But he didn’t force me to lay down my cards before I knew his vision.)

3. Trust is a chicken and egg thing.

Clients will not immediately share the issues they find most vulnerable, e.g. their budget.

If you find your clients balking at talking about money, then look at yourself first: have you failed to build up an emotional rapport with your clients?!

Selling is not telling: rather it is the process of building a bond and understanding, by asking questions to get at your clients emotional needs around why they called you.

Pro Tip: Sometimes you can get your clients to open up if you first open up on something vulnerable about yourself or your business.

Remember, ideas make people think, but emotions make them act.

4. Being a better sales consultant.

To understand your role as a sales consultant better, here are 3 tips:

  1.  Consultants can have emotionally open conversations on factors besides money, in order to build up credibility and rapport.
  2. Consultants relish the opportunity to help their clients think through the issue of money, costs, and priorities. Never pre-judge where prospects place value.
  3. Consultants embrace asking for the sale and asking for money (deposits, consultations, designs) because it gives the prospect the opportunity to identify if they are really on board. And if they are not, it gives you the opportunity to solve their obstacle.

5. Prospects and clients love confident sales consultants.

Good prospects enjoy working with confident sales consultants:

  1. Clients want to follow a leader – How well are you behaving like a leader on your sales calls?
  2. Clients feel good making smart decisions – Are you leading your clients into win-win decisions?
  3. Clients want choices, but not too many; some clients ultimately want you to tell them what you think will match up best to their needs.

Embrace your role as a leader and a sales “consultant.”

Your challenge:

Finding great salespeople.

Increasingly I am telling my peer group and coaching clients to look outside the industry.  You can teach anyone to estimate, but you can’t teach everyone to love selling.

Whether you are from inside the industry our outside, when you embrace the money conversations you will make you and your clients feel better about choosing you.