By Jeff Shore
Price Fixation
Salesperson: “Welcome, and thanks for stopping by.”

Customer: “What’s your price?”

Salesperson: “Well, we will certainly get to that. How’s your day going?”

Customer: “What’s your price?”

Salesperson: “Okay, I’ll be happy to answer that but can I ask you a few questions first?”

Customer: “What’s your price?”

Salesperson: “Well, we actually have several options at various price points – from $ to $”

Customer: “Your prices are too high.”

What is it about customers that causes them to fixate on price? I mean, you have a great product and outstanding service – don’t they care about these things?

Many factors are actually at play in this situation. But for this discussion, we’ll look at three key issues, all of which come in the form of cognitive biases – or mental inclinations.

Conquering Price Fixation

1. Defer the price conversation until after establishing value

The single biggest problem with price discussions in the sales conversation is when they occur too soon in the process. The earlier you talk about price, the less likely you will get the sale. Did you catch that? The earlier you talk about price the less likely you will get the sale.

Why is this the case? Two reasons…

First, an early price discussion has no value basis. Without a sense of the intrinsic value of the product, any price conversation is simply speculative.  I’m discussing the price of an undefined concept.

Second, early price conversations connect the customer to their logical/analytical brain. That’s a problem, because purchase decisions take place much more strongly in the emotional side of the brain. This is an extremely powerful characteristic of the purchase process!

The one-word strategy: defer.

You simply cannot get into a detailed price discussion until after the customer has ascertained and shown an appreciation for the product.

2. Separate intrinsic value from the price discussion

My wife and I recently purchased a new mattress. We narrowed it down to two models. Choice A: The Really Expensive Model. Choice B: The Really, Really Expensive Model. She was favoring Choice A; I was favoring Choice B.

I asked her a simple question: if both mattresses were free, which would you want to sleep on every night? I was certain this tactic would cause her to select Choice B…alas I was WRONG!

The strategy here is to separate the product’s value from any price discussion. The question would sound something like this:

“We’ll discuss the price in a few moments. But for now just tell me whether you believe this solution will work for you.”

3. Tie the price conversation to a purchase decision

I had previously suggested a one-word strategy to deal with the price discussion: defer. But defer until when?

I recommend deferring the price discussion until you can connect it with the purchase decision.

When you are ready to discuss the price (that is, when value is established), begin the price discussion with these words: “Should you decide to move forward with a purchase, let’s talk about the price.”

The idea is to send a powerful message to the customer. You want to talk about price? I want to talk about a purchase. Let’s do both.

To be sure, the price debate will never go away. You cannot eliminate it; but you can manage it.

And when you manage it effectively you will find a mutually beneficial strategy to help your customer accomplish their mission.