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Avoid the Pricing Game: Develop a True Relationship with Your Client


Written for The Nova Scotia Business Journal

When making a purchase, how often is the price the ultimate basis for the decision? Many salespeople and prospects believe it happens most of the time. But salespeople who buy into this become a barrier to their own success while the prospect may simply be using price as a negotiating ploy.

According to a study from The Harvard Business Review (August 2012), “39 per cent of business-to-business buyers select a vendor according to the skills of the salesperson rather than price, quality, or service features.” How does that statistic affect those who believe they can only sell on price?

When most people buy, they have standards and limitations for the purchase. Some people might set higher-level budgets for some purchases and be more bargain oriented for others. For example, they may want the top-end product for their shoes but not so much for their pajamas. For the sales professional it’s important that they understand where the money concept is for each purchase. Qualifying a prospect has different buckets, one being the budget they have and are willing to spend. That must be investigated prior to telling people about your product or service, your features and benefits, or your price.

The budget step of the selling process has to be linked to the specific needs of the prospect; after all, we aren’t there to sell but to help prospects make the best buying decision. It’s the relationship difference between being a vendor where price is the only factor and being seen as an advisor where there is a fit with what’s been qualified.

Sometimes salespeople can be their own worst enemy when the price objection comes up. They don’t want to lose the business and they haven’t created value that overcomes the prospect’s need to negotiate. The key is to prevent the money objection rather than trying to handle the objection.

In the real world there will always be price buyers. Is your goal to be the volume low-price leader? Do you want that business? Sometimes prospects may not be qualified and don’t fit as your ideal client. All buyers will buy if they see the value and are comfortable with the investment. It’s the salesperson’s job to help the buyer come to that self-discovery.

©2012 Sandler Training Inc. ( is an international sales and management training/consulting firm. For a free copy of Why Salespeople Fail And What To Do About It, call Sandler Training at 902-468-0787 or email

Eric Fry

Sandler trainer