“I figured it would be too expensive for you!”

“I figured it would be too expensive for you!”

These words came to mind a few days ago when I posted the following tweet:

Never say: “I know it seems expensive….”. The prospect will let you know if your price is too high without you putting words in their mouth. 

Let me explain. I suffer from a hiatus hernia – a tear in the wall of my stomach. I’ve had it since birth, and it causes me a great deal of discomfort and pain if I don’t eat regularly, or if I eat the wrong kinds of food. In extreme cases, surgery is necessary, but in the past two decades, several prescription medications have been introduced that help relieve the symptoms (antacids just don’t do the job for me!).

I started taking one of these medications a number of years ago – one pill per day to start with. Unfortunately, as my tolerance built up, the efficacy of the medication declined. I was soon up to two pills a day, then three, then eventually four per day.

As the medication became less effective, the list of foods I couldn’t eat or drink grew.  Spicy foods, curry, eggs, mayonnaise, tomatoes, alcohol, coffee, sugar,  etc.

Finally, enough was enough. With an upcoming trip to England (always guaranteed to bring on the worst of my symptoms) I decided to go back and see my doctor. I asked him if there was anything stronger available. He had some samples of different medications, and he gave me some to try.

What a difference the new pills made. Overnight, my symptoms all but disappeared, and during the England trip I was able to not only drink beer, but also eat curry without any adverse effects. Nirvana!

When I got home to Canada, I went back to see my doctor for a prescription for the new medication. I told him how great I felt, and how it had made my trip, and my life, that much more enjoyable. As he was writing the prescription, I asked him if the medication had just come onto the market.

“Oh no,” he said. “It’s been on the market for a number of years now.”

I asked him why he hadn’t prescribed it for me before.

“Well – they’re three times more expensive than your old pills, and since I know you don’t have any benefits or a drug plan, I figured they’d be too expensive for you.”

My doctor is a wonderful man, but frankly, I was a little taken aback.

“Really?” I replied. “I will gladly pay the price, they’ve made such a dramatic difference in my life. I was even eating curry in England, for goodness sakes.”

“Well, if you’re willing to pay the price, you’ll be able to eat all the curry you want, won’t you!”

With that I went off to get my prescription filled. However, the more I thought about the situation, the more upset I got. On the one hand, I really appreciated the fact that my doctor was looking out for my financial well-being as well as my health. On the other hand, though, I thought about all the needless pain I had endured because he had assumed I would find the pills too expensive, without even asking me or giving me the choice.

That got me wondering how often salespeople undermine their own success by making assumptions on behalf of their customers.

Have you ever:

– Made a decision on behalf of the customer?

–  Assumed a customer would find your price expensive, or worse, told them you think it’s expensive?

If we think our price is too expensive, even if we don’t vocalize it, it will subconsciously impact our negotiating power. Price is rarely the only consideration when making a purchasing decision.

The price your customer is prepared to pay for your product or service is measured by the value they will derive from it. This is different for each individual, and should never be assumed. Instead, you need to ask:

“What would this solution mean to you personally?”

If you ask, they will tell you, and you can then present value that is pertinent to that particular individual. Doing this will significantly enhance your closing ratio.

Try it – it works.

Please feel free to share this blog with anyone else you think would enjoy and learn from it.

2 thoughts on ““I figured it would be too expensive for you!”

  1. Very good point!

    I have sort of a corollary. When I am in the close phase of a sales cycle, I find myself negotiating for the customer in my head and revising my pitch to accommodate unstated objections. Not just price, but features and delivery and warranty and such. I regularly have to slap myself mentally and let the customer do their own negotiating.

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for the comment – great point. Whilst we need to anticipate and prepare for objections, we should never bring them up before the customer does (or make assumptions on their behalf, of course!).
      Glad you like the article.

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