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"How much will it cost me?"

Have you ever had a discussion with your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, where they say one thing but can mean a whole lot of different things? This follows the same principles. When dealing with customers, a key attribute that top sales performers have, is their ability to read between the lines. When engaging with a potential customer it is key to be able to identify exactly what it is they are trying to say, in order to be able to address the specific issue, concern or objection.

The one question that is always guaranteed to come up in any sales interaction, is “How much is this going to cost me?”. This question appears in every sales encounter and it is not as straight forward of a question as one might think. When I begun working in sales, I used to believe that this question was related with money. So when someone would ask “How much would this cost me?” I used to give a number. Growing in the sales business, I have come to realise that this question can mean a lot of different things depending on the product/service or customers.

“How much is this going to cost me?” can mean three different things and each one can be a deal maker or breaker:

  1. MONEY: The question is directed to the price. The customer wants to know exactly how much this is going to cost them in terms of money, so what they are really asking for is the price. The real question here is about the amount of currency that needs to be exchanged.

  2. TIME: In this case their concern is on urgency and time. How long will it take for this product to be delivered to me, or how long will it take for this service to take place? Take for instant someone who doesn’t have a car, and they want to purchase one. However for the car to be delivered to them it will take one month on order. If urgency/time is the real issue here, then there will be no deal.

  3. EFFORT: Here we are addressing the actual transition and everything included in it on the customers’ end. Assuming you are selling a new software platform to a potential customer, they want to know how much effort they will need to put in this transition themselves (including transition time, training, implementation).

Just remember: What separates good sales people from top performers, is their ability to read between the lines. This is a skill that can be acquired through proper training, experience, and proper qualification of the potential customers. If you can effectively identify and answer the question to the point intended, you are one step closer to closing the deal !

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. Hope you have found it useful and helpful. All feedback and comments are welcomed!

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