A great way in effectively setting boundaries for discussions and also as a means of quick disqualification of potential customers, is by talking money upfront, not at the end. This is something that goes against many of the traditional selling systems, where you discuss pricing at the end. It is to my firm believe, and through my years of sales experience, that getting the money talk out of the way leaves a crystal clear, wide open highway for any experienced sales person to simply drive the customer down the closing/ purchasing avenue.
To be able to effectively do this, you need to do it in a skilful manner. In my field I have seen salespeople asking customers “How much money do you want to spend?” or “What is your budget?”. These are questions that are designed to extract a figure out the customer, and these questions are the most commonly used questions in sales. These however are questions that 85% of the times won’t get you an answer. Instead what you might get is “It depends on the product” or “Money is not an issue” or you might even get a number which is far from reality. Why is that?
The answer is in the customer’s mind. By refraining to give you a number, the customers feel that they haven’t opened their cards yet to you. In their mind, somehow this gives them the upper hand in the later negotiation of the price. It gives them more leverage against your cunning sales methods. I used to ask these same questions when I first begun, only to realise how tiring and time consuming it was, to follow through the whole process only to discover that we are miles away on pricing at the very end.
If, however, the same questions were asked in a different format then you will get a more precise answer. All you need to do is simply change the dynamics of the questions. Don’t ask broad questions, instead be specific and guide the customers towards giving you an answer. The reason for doing this is because I don’t want to waste unnecessary time with a customer who has unrealistic expectations on pricing, or who isn’t serious about purchasing in the first place. As professional salesperson I value my time more than anything, and so should you. At least, if I can establish from the get go that me and the potential customer are in an accord reference pricing, then it is my job to work everything else out during my presentation, and I know that the pricing won’t come back to interfere with the actual close.
Here is two ways I could ask the same question in terms of getting an understanding of the customer’s budget and numbers in their head. One thing I would ask is “Are you looking for a price range of A-B, B-C, or C-D?” With this question I am giving them some options which give them the benefit (in their mind) of not revealing a figure, and on the other hand allows me to pinpoint a small range of numbers in which they are comfortable in discussing around.
The second way to ask the same question is in the form of a guided dialogue, to get the what I refer to as the “3 Yes”. The “3 Yes” rule is something you can do to put the customer in a sequence of positive answers, hence getting the information needed. It usually looks something like this: “Mr/Mrs X, it is to my understanding that you have done your research reference product or service Y, correct?” (YES!) “Now based on your research, you have come to the conclusion that this product or service will solve your current problem, is that correct?” (YES!) Now the last question is usually in the format of: “If that’s the case, and based on your research, then you would know that the pricing for the specific product Y in the marketplace is around A-B figures, is that correct?” (YES!) There you have it! Three Yes! This means that they are prepared, they have the money, they acknowledge the boundaries of pricing of that product or service, and they won’t have any unrealistic expectations in terms of pricing at the end of your sales pitch.
These are just two of the easiest ways you can use to get as much information as possible reference a potential customer’s budget in mind which will help you both qualify properly and proceed with eliminating the first big objection which would be pricing.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you have found it helpful and useful. All feedback and comments are welcomed, so please leave your thoughts below.