This Week's Sales Tip

Presenting Your Price (or how to get your father to buy you a really expensive birthday present)

Good morning!

When my daughter, Kati, was about to turn 16 years old (the legal driving age in Massachusetts), I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. Her reply was the perfect example of how to present a price to a customer.

Last week, we took our twin soon-to-be high school seniors on a college tour to my alma mater, the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. After a thorough and impressive description of the school’s benefits and admissions process, the presenter finally got around to the slide showing the cost. What came next was the perfect example of how NOT to present a price to a customer.

If you have done your homework, the price you deliver to a client should be your final word.

You have asked good, qualifying questions.

You believe you are bringing the best solution to your customer.

The price, then, is justified because of the process you have guided the client through. There is no need to explain…or apologize…or reduce.

Case in point…

On the subject of her birthday present, what Kati wanted was a new iPod (iPhones were still a couple years in the future). Now, an iPod wasn’t cheap. We didn’t typically spend that kind of money on birthday presents. For Kate to get one, she’d need to be strategic.

Kati said to me, “Dad, I either want a car or an iPod.”

I screamed, “A car????? Are you crazy? I’m not buying you a car. I will, however, buy you an iPod.”

And that’s how you present a price.

At UMass, the presenter did a spectacular job of describing the “product,” including selling us on the fact that it was no longer a back-up school but rather a first rate college which accepts only 5,300 of the 42,000 applicants. She said things like, “The average GPA to get in last year was 3.9.” You could feel the desire rise in the room of kids and parents. Hell, I was ready to apply!

Then…

“The total cost, including tuition, room, and board is $31,684.”

But, instead of pointing out what a comparative bargain that is; instead of comparing it with the cost of private schools; instead of closing with, “UMass offers unparalleled opportunities for the money,” she made an assumption, as if parents would be shocked at that number, instead of relieved. She talked about ways to reduce the cost (scholarships, financial aid, etc.).

She apologized for the cost.

She discounted what could have been a slam-dunk sale.

When you present a price, it should be done in such a manner that the only sticker-shock a client feels is one of, “That’s all???” Make them incredulous of the cost in a good way. This is achieved through a process of discovery, asking good questions, and coming up with a great solution.

It takes mad sales skills.

Don’t apologize for your price. Justify it by doing the work prior to giving the number.

BTW, it took me YEARS to realized I’d been had by Kati. She still giggles over that story.

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