Nine ways to ease the tension when you’re talking money
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Nine ways to ease the tension when you’re talking money

No matter how long you’ve been in sales, discussions about money can still be a little dicey. It’s often an emotionally loaded topic for buyers.

There are ways to help defuse buyers’ anxiety when you’re having the “money talk,” says sales guru Art Sobczak. Here are nine ideas you can put to use immediately:

1. Present costs as dollars-per-day. Expressing a price in terms of the daily difference can work to your advantage. It minimizes the emotional impact of any additional cost. For example: “Joe, we’re talking about a difference of two dollars a day to have the higher-output machine.”

2. Present savings as life-of-the-purchase. When you’re talking about how much the buyer will save, you want the number to be as big as possible. Point out how much a buyer will save over the life of the purchase by purchasing from you: “Joe, you’ll save the shipping cost on every order. On two orders a month that’s $360 for the year.”

3. Know when to use the word “dollars.” When you want to emphasize a number, use the word dollars. “Your savings will be over three thousand dollars.” Conversely, to de-emphasize the amount involved, just say the number, as in, “The upgrade will only be one-fifty.”

4. Use exact numbers. To add credibility to your statements, use exact numbers, not round numbers. For example, “Joe, our program is used by 374 distributors.” That sounds more authoritative than, say, 400, which gives buyers the feeling your number may be fudged – or pulled out of a hat. Alternatively, use rounding to de-emphasize a number: “Customizing should involve something in the 200 range.” (Again, don’t say dollars)

5. Put it in perspective. Sometimes buyers don’t see a savings as significant enough, or have trouble seeing a price in context. So put numbers in perspective for them. Here are two examples:

  • “Fred, we’re talking about 400 dollars a month savings here. I bet that would make the monthly payment on a delivery van.”
  • “Paula, we can do this entire program for less than what you spend now on one clerical worker.”

6. Investment vs. cost. When talking about your own offering, use the term “investment” when it is appropriate to your industry. But use “cost” or “expense” when referring to the competition, as in: “It’s costing you $28,500 a year to maintain the old system? Wow!”

7. Focus on the differential when upselling. If you say, for example, “The next price break is at 150 units,” it can seem large. Instead, say something like, “You only need 10 more units to get to the next break.”

8. Quantify the cost of the status quo. Whenever a prospect or customer shares that they have a problem, are wasting money or time, or are missing out on opportunities or profits, get them to quantify their statements. How many dollars, how much time are they losing? Here are some approaches that might work:

  • “How often does that happen?”
  • “What does that cost you?”
  • “How much time, specifically, would you say that you spend on that?”
  • “How many times did that occur?”

9. Have them do the math. Whenever possible, ask questions designed to involve buyers in making their own calculations – especially when it comes to current costs. For example: “Okay, let’s figure this up. You’re paying how much now for the setup? Okay now, how many of those orders do you have per month? Now let’s take that multiplied by 12 to get a yearly cost. What did you come up with? That’s what it’s costing you on an annual basis just for the setup.”


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