How much do you charge? Does it make you crazy when that’s the first question out of someone’s mouth?
- Not “How good are you?”
- Not “Will your service/product really solve the problem?”
- Not even “How long will it take?”
It drives most of us nuts! Does it make you feel any better to know you’re in good company?
What’s Happening When They Ask "How Much Do You Charge?"
When a prospective client asks you how much do you charge one of two things is happening:
One – your prospect is trying to turn you into a commodity, or
Two – they already think you are a commodity.
When this happens you have to slow down the train and prove you are not. Why? Because commodities are interchangeable and, as a result, dirt cheap.
It’s hard to earn a living selling a commodity.
How Much Do You Charge: 2 Critical Things You Need to Know
When you get the question, it’s critical for you to remember two things that – as salespeople and consultants – it’s easy to forget.
First, realize that you are not required to spout off an answer just because they ask, “how much do you charge?”
You are allowed to ask questions and explain why you are asking them. You have a range of prices for services and you can’t tell what they need until you know more about their needs, about the problem they want to solve.
Second, many of the people who come to you will have no basis of comparison.
Hiring an expert like you is not what they do for a living. They may never have considered hiring someone like you before. They may not have done a lot of homework before contacting you. They may not know which questions to ask in order to figure out whether you are a good investment. “How much do you charge” is an easy question for them to ask, but isn’t a relevant one until much later in the selling conversation.
Here’s a critical sales axiom for you to remember: If you tell, you fail.
The Answer is Asking Questions
The question “how much do you charge” is a cue for you to start asking questions.
Remember this principle: When you talk at your prospect, the info goes in one ear and out the other without stopping in the brain in between. I call this the Teflon Effect ( ® E.I. DuPont de Nemours 🙂 ) But when you ask questions, the prospect is more engaged and less defensive.
Here are some generic questions that you can ask when you’re prompted by the “how much do you charge” question:
- How were you hoping I could help?
- What have you tried so far?
- How have those things worked for you?
- What happens if you don’t work with someone like me?
- How important is it to you to fix this problem?
Obviously, these are very general, but you get the idea. Your prospect has to tell you what’s important to them. Your role is to ask questions, listen, and see if their problem is one you can solve. This is you being in service, and it’s the direct opposite of pushing and manipulating just to get the money. This is how your colleagues get four or five figures (or even more) for some of their projects.
To be effective in your business (translate: make good money), you will need to get comfortable asking questions, figuring out if you can solve the problem, and asking for a commitment.
Yes, it can be uncomfortable at first, just like any new skill. Like the first time you rode a bicycle, or skated, or did anything else that was brand new for you. With time and practice, it becomes natural, comfortable, and straightforward for you.
Take Action – Make These Your Own
The next time a prospective customer asks, “how much do you charge” try taking these steps:
- Try using the generic questions outlined above with your next prospect. See how it goes.
- If necessary, customize the questions so they work for you.
- Don’t worry about being perfect.
And remember the sales axiom: if you tell, you fail.
You can also check out these related posts:
Share a comment: if you are accustomed to using questions like these, let us know how it’s working for you.