How to Delay Answering the “How Much Is It?” Question

One of the most discouraging questions a prospect or customer can ask you is the classic – How Much is It? or How Much Will This Cost Me? or What’s Your Best Price? – all before you are ready to discuss price.

GEEZ! Is there a secret code decision makers use to alert each other of a b2b sales person’s efforts to bring value to the table for establishing a fair price – a win-win for both parties?

While it could be you got in front of a fast paced individual who wanted to make a fast decision and needed a price for project comparison – OR – you could have run into some one who only wanted a reason to shoot down your offer since they knew who they really wanted to buy from at this time.

So, how do you delay the answer without aggravating the decision maker?

You use one of two methods to delay the answer…

  1. The Delay Method
    This method is used to tell the customer you hear their request, however, you need more time to determine the right fit or correct solution combination to give them an accurate price. You have many options or variables and you need more information before quoting a price.
    Now if the customer is fine with this answer get started immediately asking more questions to uncover issues and their consequences prior to any price discussions. Remember your goal is to have the customer self-discover the costs associated with their issues and the costs of no action or change.
    If the customer states they don’t have time and want the price now – move to the next method rather than giving a definite quote.
  2. The Range Method
    Here you are actually leaving yourself some wiggle room with your initial price quotes by using a range of possible pricing. Using the position of the price (I like to use the word – investment) will range between a low of $ XY to a high side of $XYZZ. The exact pricing will depend upon the exact combination we put together for you.
    The critical key for you when using this method is to ALWAYS quote the minimum or walk away number on the bottom or low side of the range. Think of this as the minimum check for you to do business with this type of customer. Why? Because buyers have selective listening and will zero in on the low side number. It is almost like they didn’t hear anything except the low number of the range and start using this number as the comparison number to all other offerings.
    The second critical issue for you is to have some numbers in mind when you get to the prospective customer meeting. No guessing or winging it here or you will get burned as the sales process moves forward. Think through the possible solutions for this customer using your experience or discussing with other top b2b sales people on your team for pricing ideas or guidelines.

The key thing is to delay your absolute quotes on pricing until you have developed a big value reason and the buyer has acknowledged the cost of no action relative to this solution. Value trumps cost in most cases. There are limited exceptions due to existing or special arrangements between a competitor and the customer.

Again, use the questioning model to build your case and the cost of indecision. Create a sense of urgency with the buyer so a decision is made sooner rather than later. You can influence this decision using the two methods of delaying price quotes before your case has been properly built.


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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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