Stop having conversations about price. Instead, start talking in terms of value & payoff.

Too often when a conversation shifts to “let’s talk money,” it’s a way for the buyer to bring up price.

It’s my experience that price is often introduced in the conversation too early. Buyers often use it as a qualifier at the outset, before even a modicum of value has been offered. Of course, we are going to discuss price–but that has to come after the buyer understands, beyond price, the benefits of working with our company.

There are three downsides to discussing price:

  • You are talking about your money. They are focused on their money.
  • There is an inherent assumption that you and the buyer are talking about the same thing–in other words, that your price can be compared with someone else’s because your products are the same (a commodity). Often this is not the case.
  • You are discussing inputs (the price of the unit of product, service or solution)–but the value is in the outputs (reliability, efficiency, effectiveness, total cost of ownership).

I want you to work on some language changes in your conversations with prospects and clients when you are discussing money. These are not euphemisms. They are ways to shift the focus of the conversation from price to value.

1. “Market competitive”: Get the conversation focused on what you are going to help the buyer accomplish, and away from a price-only discussion. If what you sell isn’t the same as what everyone else sells, it can’t be priced the same. Instead, use the term “market competitive” early in the conversation–reducing the buyer’s fear but delaying price discussions until after value has been established.

2. “Velocity”: Speed means money. Focus the conversation on how your solution can improve your customer’s speed–bringing faster results.

3. “Yield”: What is the input/output calculation? Customers expect you to understand their business well enough to tell them how your offering will affect their bottom line in real dollars.

4. “Outcome confidence”: We’ve all bought something on price alone, only to find out later that it didn’t work. One of the things your customer is paying for is the confidence that your solution will work.

5. “First noticeable benefit”: Talking about timing increases your credibility because it gives customers a “watch for” date on the benefits that you are promising–a critical issue for offerings whose benefits are not immediately visible.

6. “Total cost of ownership”: Focus on the complete picture. Expenses can include repairs, consumables, down time and so on. Keep the conversation in the realm of the buyer’s business and budget, rather than on price.

There is one way, by the way, that “let’s talk money” can be great. This is when you’re talking about the buyer’s money–and how your solution can make them more of it.

Money is only scary when we talk about price: Buyers fear making poor decisions and getting taken advantage of. Take “price” off the table and you’ll be in a much better position.


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