"The Navigator" News Blog

How to Handle the Price Objection: The One Way That Works

“Your price is too high.”  “Your competitor has a lower price than you do.”  There are many, many ways to handle this objection.  All of them – except one – are LAME.  They cost you money, time, and business.  And worse, damn few salespeople are willing to execute the one way that works.  Maybe you should be one of the few and the proud.  No more preamble – let’s dig into the most common objection in selling and how you can sell through (not around) it.

Most of the time, the first step that salespeople take, upon hearing the “price objection,” is to soil themselves.  Then and only then will they start saying a bunch of stupid sh….uh, I mean “stuff,” that costs them money and is usually futile in winning the sale.  Let’s look at a few representative samples and then we’ll talk about the one strategy that works when your customer says, “Your price is too high.”

  1. “My price is high compared to what?” This is one of the oldest and most annoying sales tactics in the book. Your price is too high compared to what your customer expected to pay, or wants to pay.  It’s designed to make the customer feel dumb for not knowing what an appropriate price should be, and it makes the salesperson and the customer into adversaries.  That’s never a good tactic.
  2. “My competitor offered a lower price? You know they’re just lowballing and they’ll raise your prices later, right?”  Bad idea. First of all, you are insulting the customer’s intelligence, because you’re saying that they are too dumb to know that they’ll get a price increase later.  Secondly, are you going to guarantee that the customer’s prices will never go up?  If so, great!  If not, then you’re only debating on who will increase prices more and sooner.  That’s very, very shaky ground to be on.
  3. “My competitor offered a lower price? Well, get their offer out and let’s compare apples to apples.”  If there is any phrase in selling that is like fingernails on the blackboard to me, it’s “apples to apples.”  It’s lowest common denominator, low- IQ selling, and it’s one of the oldest, most hackneyed phrases in the book.  There are many reasons why this is a stupid thing to say.  First of all, you’re saying, “Well, let’s make us just like them.”  Considering that you’ve spent your selling time until now saying that you are different than your competitors, why would you want to then level the playing field with them?  That’s dumb.  You aren’t an apple.  They are.  But even more importantly, this is again an insulting tactic because you’re telling the customer that they’re too dumb to read the words written on a page and interpret them correctly.  Customers don’t buy from salespeople who make them feel dumb.
  4. “I want the last shot at the price.” What you’re saying here is that the numbers on your proposal mean nothing until all the other competitors have checked in – and then your price will be determined by theirs.  Make no mistake – if you don’t know how much your stuff should cost the customer until you know what your competitors are charging, you suck at your business.  Would you let your competitors walk into your office and write your price manual for you?  No? Then don’t let it happen here.
  5. “Bid.” I’ve talked about this before and even made videos on it.  But “Bid” is a word that should be banned from your vocabulary.  “Bid” implies multiple vendors, and it also implies that the only determination will be numbers on a page.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Stop saying “bid.”

There are, of course, many more dumb things that salespeople say when the customer says, “Your price is too high,” but you should have the idea by now.  But that leaves one big question.  What, then, should you do in the face of that objection?  Well, there’s really only one good strategy.

Your approach, from the beginning of the Buyer’s Journey, should be that you fully expect to be the highest price, that you’re worth it because you are by far the best solution for your customer’s needs, and that if you are not the highest price it is purely by accident.

This works.  I once worked in an industry where the company that was by far the biggest, most successful, and most profitable, had that entire attitude.  For that matter, they walked with such swagger that everything they did told the customer that the customer was flat-out dumb if they didn’t enthusiastically pay that higher price.

And they kicked everyone’s ass and are now the 800 pound gorilla of their industry.

But this is the key.  From the moment they engaged the customer, every action they took and every impression they gave sent the message that they were the elite.  They dressed better, they sold better, their service trucks looked the best, their plants looked the best, and they had attitude.  And if the customer asked if they would be the cheapest, they said, “no, and if you are looking for the cheapest, I wish you well.”

Oh, and they did in fact fulfill those promises about their service experience.

Now, I don’t recommend that you necessarily be arrogant about your sales approach – but can you adopt part of that method?  Definitely.  But it requires completely evaluating every part of your process.  You must provide a better experience at every stage of the Buyer’s Journey than your competitors.

Dress better.  These days, that’s not hard, given the ever-declining standards of what constitutes “business dress.”

Understand the Buyer’s Journey and where you are in it.

Ask better questions and more of them than your competitors.

Give presentations that are tailored to the customer’s needs.  No one-size-fits-all slide decks.

Be direct with your price – no waffling or uncertainty.

Close in a confident and welcoming fashion.

Then make sure that the purchase and service experience is elite-level.

Rinse and repeat.

I’ll be 100% frank with you.  I never thought I “won” a sale if I was the lowest price.  In fact, if customers asked me if I’d be the lowest, I’d respond, “If I am, I’d like the opportunity to re-quote.”  They laughed.  And then, more often than not, they paid a higher price when they said “yes.”  Did everyone?  Nope.  No sales tactic works on everyone. BUT – and this is important – the customers who did buy ended up being great customers and great relationships, and didn’t leave the moment a competitor came in and undercut me.

So, how do you handle it when the customer says, “Your price is too high?”

First, from the start of your involvement with them, be so much better than your competitors that your customer knows that you really don’t care – that you deserve the higher price.

Differentiate yourself by asking more and better questions so that your customer knows that you are, in fact, different from your competitors.

Be confident and forthright with your pricing.  Make it feel like it’s both set in stone and a great value – not because it’s cheaper, but because that they are still getting amazing return on investment even at a higher price.

The price objection starts in your customer’s mind – not on a piece of paper.  Set the paradigm from the start and you will hear it less, and you will sell more.