Starting a tough talk with the buyer
  • sales
  • Blog post

Starting a tough talk with the buyer

With all the talk about selling value over price, don’t forget: You still need to know if you have overcome objections. Sometimes you won’t be sure.

But sometimes it’s difficult to nail down what a prospect is really thinking. When it comes to these so-called “tough” issues, like price, salespeople hesitate to ask direct questions. They waffle. They waste a lot of time beating around the bush.

Four simple steps
Here’s a four-step strategy for going straight to the heart of the pricing, or any other delicate, issue.

  1. Say you’re concerned or unhappy.
  2. Wait for the prospect to ask “Why?” – (he or she always will).
  3. Raise the concern.
  4. Wait some more.
  5. Listen.

It sounds simplistic. But once you raise a concern, the buyer will almost always discuss it.

Here’s how it goes:

You: “I’m concerned about something.”

(Awkward pause.)

Buyer: “Really? What’s that?”

You: “I’m concerned that you think my price isn’t competitive.”

(Awkward pause.)

The buyer will feel obliged to respond. Listen closely and you will almost always get the truth. Price may indeed be the issue, or it may be something else.

When you don’t know the client that well, you might soften the “I’m concerned” approach. For example:

“You know, this is the point where people typically have a problem with price if that is an issue for them.”
Then stop talking and listen.

Adapted from Stephan Schiffman’s book, “The 25 Sales Skills They Don’t Teach At Business School.” Contact:

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