How much do you charge?
Your prospect acts like this is the single most important question to ask. Where on earth does that idea come from?
And you feel you need to give them an answer. Yet, when you do, you frequently see a prospect with sticker shock – or as it is technically known – price resistance. You know, that deer-in-the-headlights look that makes your stomach hurt when you see it.
Let’s explore this together.
How Much Do You Charge? The Big Warning Sign
Ask yourself a question: if you had a problem and were contacting an expert, what would you want to know first?
Here’s a big warning sign: If the first thing you would want to know is “How much do you charge?” then you’re likely to be plagued with this issue from your prospects for the rest of your career.
If this is your first response, it means you, yourself, believe this is the most important criteria for deciding on an expert to support you.
This further means it is easy for you to toss out a number before you even know what the problem is or if you can solve the problem. You find their question justified and tell yourself you are required to answer.
This also means you are unlikely to close, and if you do close, you’re very likely leaving serious money on the table.
It’s Too Expensive! Are You Responsible for Price Resistance?
The truth is, if you toss out a number first thing, you are doing your client a profound disservice.
If they start with the ‘how much’ question, they don’t know the other important questions to ask. As a professional, your job is to educate them about the essential decision criteria, not by telling them, but by the questions you ask them.
Questions from you – if handled gracefully – engage them, lower their armor, and make them more likely to listen from an open minded space when you answer their questions.
Please understand something. This is not about you being a greedy, manipulative swine!
This is about you being in service to your prospective client and to your profession. If you fail to engage your prospect in an informative discussion, they could end up with someone less experienced, less professional, and less effective than you. All because they were allowed to mistake your service for a commodity, like soap or cereal.
Is that what you really want?
Take Action – Make This Your Own
Take a look at your instinctive response to the ‘how much’ question?
- Are you giving a number before either you or the client knows the significance of their problem?
- Are you permitting your service or product to be mistaken for a commodity like soap or cereal? Make a list of what makes you or the service special or unique.
- If you are having trouble seeing what’s different or special, do the exercise with a buddy. It is sometimes better if that buddy is outside your industry. She won’t make assumptions about what the prospect may know.
- Craft the five to seven questions you need to ask the prospect so they understand what is really important and why you’re different.
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