Don’t Let “Price” Derail Your Sale Avoiding the Classic Mistake BY: ERIC FRY, MANAGING PARTNER, SANDLER TRAINING H as this ever happened to you? You’ve had a series of great discussions with a prospect, taken lots of great notes, and you’ve developed the proverbial “killer presentation.” You’ve started to deliver that presentation, and you’ve gotten all kinds of positive signals from the prospect: encouraging body language, words of approval, that kind of thing. Things seemed promising. Then you got to the final slide, the slide everything else was supposed to justify: the price. And all the positive signals stopped cold. The meeting ended without a commitment. The prospect had to think about it, had to talk to people, had to check the numbers, had to do any number of things other than say “yes” or “no” to your pricing. And you left without any timeline. And the deal died. HAVE THE MONEY DISCUSSION BEFORE YOU PRESENT Once you have uncovered pain that can be successfully addressed by your product or service, you must discover the prospect’s expectations or limitations regarding the financial aspects—the price, costs, terms, fees, etc.—associated with the acquisition of your product or service. Why would you save that discussion for the final slide of your presentation? Doing so only produces the perfect opportunity for a “Let me think it over” moment. Not all money messages were negative. Perhaps you were taught that “it takes money to make money,” or “money is a well-deserved reward for hard work.” These messages – both positive and negative – were most likely appropriate in the context in which they were conveyed. In the sales arena, however, it’s important to understand that talking about money—fees, price, terms, etc.— is an integral part of selling, and that this discussion must take place before the presentation. Many salespeople (perhaps you as well) feel uncomfortable discussing money issues with prospects and What happened? You made a classic mistake. You saved the money discussion for last. clients. The discomfort is most often the result of early childhood messages, primarily received from parents, which suggest that it is not appropriate to talk about money. Can you remember your parents telling you that it is not polite to ask someone how much money he earns or how much something costs? Were you taught that money was the root of all evil? 22 RISK & BUSINESS MAGAZINETM FALL 2015 If you are very comfortable discussing money issues, you want to make sure that you don’t appear insensitive to your prospect’s concerns. Conversely, if you are uncomfortable, you must be aware of your tonality and body language. You don’t want to telegraph your discomfort because it could undermine your credibility and possibly cast doubt on the validity of your price or fees. Having a strategy and a prepared set of questions can help ease this discomfort (for you or your prospects) and make the financial conversation a natural part of the selling process. The most direct strategy for uncovering a prospect’s budget situation is simply to ask.