-by Shamus Brown
Ever have a prospect start out your sales call by asking you "so how much does this cost?" as the first question out of his mouth? How you handle this question, and subsequent ones like it, will greatly influence the outcome of your sales-call.
Right now is an excellent time to examine some of your beliefs about selling. Do you believe that this is a reasonable question for the prospect to ask? Would this be one of your first questions of a seller if you were the prospect? Do you agree with saying's like "The customer is always right"?
If you agree with most or all of these beliefs, would you then answer his question directly with a price? Just because the prospect asks a reasonable question does not mean that the smart thing to do is to answer it. Doing this at the very least could cost you money that you did not know the prospect had. And, doing this could cost you the entire sale, if the prospect prematurely rules you out because you are "too expensive".
People make buy, no-buy decisions for emotional reasons. Imagine that your buyer looks at a scale on which she weighs the emotional consequences of her decisions. If the sales call begins with your answer to "how much does this cost?", which way do you think her scale tips? Gee, you don't know because you haven't had the chance yet to ask about this buyer's budget or financial resources. Unless you are lucky enough to be priced right within her budget, chances are this scale is going to tip very negatively against you. And you are rapidly on your way to losing this sale. In fact, you may not even get a chance to finish this sales call now.
How do you tip the scale towards the positive, towards you? Ask questions to help the buyer discover his emotional reasons why he wants and needs your product now. Ask questions that uncover the consequences of not buying from you. Take control by turning the prospect's question to you into a question back to him. This question could be as simple as "Do you mind if I ask you some questions first to see if you even need any of my products/services?"
Take control of the sales call up-front, and tip the scales in your favor.
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