What’s The First Thing You Should Say When A Prospect Says, “How Much Do You Charge?”

Posted by Robin Robins On August 24th, 2009

Before I give you the answer, I want you to think about what you say right now when a prospect asks you this question. Do you:

A. Give them a rough estimate but low-ball the price
so you don’t scare them off.
B. Tell them you won’t know until you work up a proposal.
C. Tell them what you charge by the hour then reassure them it won’t take too long.

Next, how do you FEEL when you give your answer? Do you feel anxious? Worried? Afraid that they will react badly to your price?

Do you feel bad about charging them “so much” and immediately look for ways to discount your rates?

Do you avoid discussing price and deliver your quote to the client via a proposal instead of negotiating this critical aspect of the sale face to face?

If you do any of the above, you have a severe sales handicap that is sabotaging your ability to close profitable deals. It is also causing you to waste an enormous amount of time on low-probability prospects. There are a couple of reasons that sales people (and business owners) make these mistakes, and it goes far deeper than a lack of sales know-how.

The most common reason is founded in a selfsabotaging belief system. Many people have deepseated feelings about money and what’s fair that works against them in a selling situation. They feel as though they are doing someone harm if they take their money and therefore try to make it as easy on the other person (their prospect or customer) by lowering or discounting their price. How are these beliefs developed? Mainly by your parents and society in general.

We are taught from the time we are kids that “money doesn’t grow on trees” and that you shouldn’t waste your “hard earned” dollars. We are also taught to believe that people with money are greedy or unethical, and that money is in short supply. These negative beliefs about money are so entrenched that you consciously may not realize you have them; however, these beliefs will show up in your sales negotiations and cause you to settle for less than you deserve on a deal.

If you find yourself feeling bad when you ask a prospect to buy, if you avoid talking about price, if you are currently doing work for your clients at a lower rate than you KNOW you deserve, or even if you feel guilty when you charge a client more than your “normal” rate, then there is a good chance that you harbor some of these negative beliefs.

I notice it quite a bit with the clients that I coach. When they talk to me about their lack of sales, they’ll blame everything else BUT themselves. They’ll tell me clients are cheap, that they don’t like spending money on computers and technology, that the economy is bad, that their competitors are low-balling their rates and making it tough to compete, and so on. While some of these are legitimate objections to overcome, most of these excuses are used as a crutch for the real problem: their inability to overcome the price demons in their own head.

I know because I used to have the same negative beliefs. I was brought up by my Mother to believe that money was the root of all evil and “rich” was a fourletter word. Looking back I can see how it severely hindered my ability to negotiate profitable sales. If you can relate to any of these beliefs, the only way to get rid of them is to work on it like a bad habit. The first step is to identify these beliefs in yourself. Hopefully I’ve uncovered the tip of the iceberg. number of limiting beliefs you hold about money, I recommend that you get your hands on a copy of “You Were Born Rich” by Bob Proctor. If you want a freebie, then go to  www.bobproctor.com/free.htm and you can download a free audio on the topic. You might also go to www.epimentoring.com and download their free mini course on attracting wealth (you can guess who helped to write it).

Finally, the BEST answer to give when a client asks you what your price is…the price. Actually, I would prefer that YOU bring it up first by saying:“Mr. Prospect, based on what you’ve told me so far, this <project/phone system/solution> is going to cost you anywhere from $X to $Y; are you prepared to spend that?” Asking this question BEFORE you spend time working up a proposal will save you from wasting an incredible amount of time on low-probability prospects. Although some projects are difficult to estimate, it’s important that you give them a ball park figure and always estimate high.