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How do you tactfully delay giving out pricing when asked for it early on in the sales cycle?

Got promoted from BDR to AE recently. When I was a BDR, my go to answer when prospects asked about pricing was just "it's highly customized and I don't have access to the calculator myself, but my account executive can help you with that." Now that I'm an AE, I'm struggling to tactfully delay the pricing conversation when a prospect wants pricing early on, especially when it's going to be a big price tag.


On small deals I've started giving them a quote if they ask early on, since if they balk at some of the lowest pricing we have then it's probably best to just move on to other opportunities. But when it's a bigger company/opportunity I find myself having trouble tactfully pushing back on having pricing discussions until after I've had some time to build value with them.


What do you guys do if a prospect asks for pricing info early on in the sales cycle?

👑 Sales Strategy
📈 Closing
32
braintank
Politicker
+7
Enterprise Account Executive
There is something to be said for "qualifying out" early by seeing if people balk.

For large accounts I think it's helpful to give a wide range, with the caveat that you need more info to properly scope.

Don't delay forever though. I get the mindset of trying to avoid sticker shock, but it can be really frustrating for a buyer to have have to beg and plead for a quote. Serious buyers need to know how much so they can figure out how to buy.
SaaSam
Politicker
+8
Account Executive
This is exactly what I do, even for smaller deals. Offer a range with the reality being somewhere near the lower end and let them know I'll be able to get them a more exact number after we've been able to evaluate their situation.
ch
chewymammoth
Opinionated
+4
Account Executive
Appreciate yours and everyone else's insight. This makes sense and I'm definitely going to try giving some wide ranges with added caveats.

Only concern I have is that our product is usually the most expensive by a decent margin when compared to our competitors. Our product is also legitimately the leader in its field, but it takes a little time to convince prospects of that. Like helping them see the difference between a Lambo and a Ford Pinto, even if both have radios, power steering, ABS brakes, etc. Obviously I can ask followup questions to get ahead of that, like what their reaction is on the price range, if they're evaluating competitors, etc. but if the lowest price in the range I give them is 2x a quote from a competitor, I'm kind of worried I'll never hear from them again if I haven't built enough value in just the first conversation.
braintank
Politicker
+7
Enterprise Account Executive
That's always a risk when you're most expensive. You might want to consider prefacing pricing with: we're not the cheapest solution, so if that's the right the most important thing to you we may not be the best fit...
Show 2 more replies
InQ5WeTrust
Arsonist
+9
Sales Savages, what is our profession? Trauma!
Yep joining the masses. 

When I started my boss didn't want to reveal pricing until we'd 'shown value'. Ended up dealing with a bunch of timewasters and only discovering objections later in the funnel. 

Have a range, rip the bandaid off. Can always qualify that its hard to be specific at the point in time etc. 
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Agree with braintank here. Usually my strategy is “I’ve seen as low as X and as high as Y, I’ll need to get more info to determine where you fit on that spectrum”
If X is too high, well, thank God you didn’t waste any more time on em.
1nbatopshotfan
Politicker
+6
Senior Director, Enterprise Technology
I see that you said your product is the priciest in the market in one of the comments. Do you have any ROI info handy so that you can follow up with that as a way to show that while expensive your client can recoup costs in 18/24/36 months? If you can arm the client with that, the price tag is less important. 
Diablo
Politicker
+7
AE
It's better to inform to see if they are a fit.


I always like to tell that we have customers paying as low as X and as high as Y, if they could share their exact requirements you can give them the range but also assure that if there is an interest, you will try your best to see if there exist any flexibility in the pricing.
MCP
Valued Contributor
+4
Sales Director
Talking price early weeds out those that would waste your time. Nothing wrong with it.
LordOfWar
Big Shot
+12
Director
Like many have said, anchor on the high-end to get the time-wasters out but leave room to look like a real friend when the final number comes in.

I'd also buffer it with "well I need to learn your needs first to make sure we offer the right solution, but it could be as high as XX" which gives you a little bit of an out if they balk at price but are still a serious prospect.
TheOverTaker
Politicker
+9
Account Executive
I never shy away from offering a price range when someone specifically asks for pricing. I understand you want to build value, but some people feel jilted when pricing is withheld. Be up front. Build rapport with that honesty and straightforwardness
Mo
MonthEndSpecial
Valued Contributor
+3
Enterprise Account Executive
I don’t agree with the range. Sorry guys. It means nothing, and only encourages shopping around. 

I sell the most expensive in the market, and never give pricing out without knowing the exact value to them.

Just explain to them the steps that need to be taken to give price. Offer it up on the next call, but require that complete the steps needed in that call prior.

if I am on a discovery call and they ask, I will say; “I really can’t say, because there are a couple of options that you need to see to understand”.

then after demo, offer up to build a Cost and Bebefit comparison with pricing. Either then, or on the next call. Has worked every time but once for the last 7 years. The one that I ended up giving pricing to never made it to a demo and went with a competitor.
Al
AlexGG
Good Citizen
Senior Enterprise AE
Interesting. I usually mix it up and offer a more precise pricing after next steps.
Were you ever in a situation where the prospect could have been disqualified earlier in the process because budget was a showstopper ?
Mo
MonthEndSpecial
Valued Contributor
+3
Enterprise Account Executive
No, not really. I wouldn't look at it that way. I have found that there are organizations who's problems aren't big enough to solve with my solution.

If you are quantifying their challenge, price doesn't matter, the value of the problem matters. At least in the value based-pricing model.
thetrustedadvisor
Good Citizen
Sr. Customer Account Executive
I answer all pricing questions with complete and total transparency, and if it doesn't come up soon, I bring it up myself before the end of the call to make sure we're a fit.

I say things like:


"Our product starts out at $100k per year on the low end and goes up to the 7 figures for some of our largest customers. On average, I think our customers spend about $170k a year on our solution. That is definitely more than some of our competitors but this solution generally nets 3 to 5x ROI through [value items 1, 2 and 3]. 


For customers that select us, they're usually projecting about a million dollars a year in value created through this type of initiative, and they end up deciding to go with us because the ROI is there, and they realized that we were the partner with the best track record of helping enterprise brands get the most value from this project, through our technology and partnership focused approach.

Do you have any type of estimate for how much value a project like this could create for your company?"


From there we can get into ROI discussions, business value discussions, etc, which should open up the door to value vs price. Of course, if they know their business and know that there's no way they could actually create that much value with this solution (i.e. they're just too small . . . it's hard to create a million dollars a year in additional value at a $10 million dollar a year company. It's a lot easier at a billion dollar a year company) then no problem. They end up qualifying themselves out on price and leave feeling positive because they learned more about the market, business value etc.

For customers who can see how a solution like ours would create a lot of ROI for them, then great, we're now in the drivers seat leading on value, which is where we want to be anyway.


TL;DR - know your value, be transparent about price, always discuss it in conjunction with value, and help your customers understand how you specifically can help them maximize value, allowing room from them to disqualify if the value just isn't there.  
Sunbunny31
Politicker
+5
Sales Executive
Agree with both braintank and usernotfound. Ranges can be helpful, as can “our basic packages start at z” and let them talk. We also just flat out asked a customer where we need to land, and figured out a way to make that work with reducing some of the items (they can acquire those later) and applying a discount (customer we have reasons to target and acquire). Sometimes being direct helps.
Al
AlexGG
Good Citizen
Senior Enterprise AE
Depending on what you sell, give a range at the end of the first call and use the next steps to scope and provide a more precise quote.
TheRealPezDog
Notable Contributor
+10
Account Manager
You are overthinking it.  When they ask you a price question give them a price answer, even if it's a big range, and you should try to set that expectation early.  Look at it from their perspective, they are trying to find out if they have enough budget, just say the price range and follow it up with this, "Is that in line with what you expected?"  
The_Sales_Badger
Notorious Answer
+9
Account Executive
“If price is the only concern then I have no problem giving it to you. However, each price depends on the project, and until I understand more about this instance, the more accurate my pricing will be.
With that said, if we can be fully transparent about the budget for this project, we are in a better place to align financially. What budget have you set aside for this?”
If they don’t know then everything is going to seem expensive. Also, you’ve put yourself in a give to get situation. Youll give them pricing once you get their budget.
re
returnofthemac
Valued Contributor
+5
Account Executive
range range and more range - start by saying it costs 1 million dollars, laugh it off an move on, if that doesn't work - range!
wo
womenmakewar
Good Citizen
+1
Unprofessional Sales Professional
"Prior to sharing the price, I want to share this products VALUE." 

This has been used as a creative (and successful) road block that buys you a little bit more time to elaborate on why the product is one that would be advantageous to the client. 
elhandsomediablo
Good Citizen
Sales Development
I usually state that I "never really do this" but I can dive a little bit on the topic. The key idea and the reason are really to showcase our solution, and how they could scale up or down their operations. Let's hop on the call and discuss the solution visually, and we can get more specific to their actual needs. 
Li
LilSaaSX
Executive
+4
AE
Before giving pricing be strategic and tactful. Make sure you’ve done enough discovery and understand their scope of work, timeline and paper process before just rattling off a price tag. Also, ask them what their budget is for the project so you can ensure your product/solution is in line with their needs. It’s always good to be straight forward with your customer/prospect and tell them to get a better understanding of pricing you’ll need to fully understand their project which can’t always be identified in an intro call. For accuracy let me gather some additional details so I can get you an accurate price. Depending on your company and the level of deal sometimes price is on the website. Your prospect will appreciate that you’re invested and aren’t just throwing out a price because it sounds like what they want to hear. Of course you’ll still have people that want to know the price right off the bat and by telling them pricing is customizable based on a lot of variable factors it’ll be a smoother deal for all parties to establish that upfront. I never talk about pricing on a intro call and usually don’t get into price until we’ve had at least 2 calls and have built value. If someone wants a price very soon their either new, not a DM, shopping you to leverage against a competitor they’re already in negotiations with or a combo of that. The real decision makers and folks that have been in the game for long enough know pricing comes later. This is what I’ve typically done throughout my career and so far so good. Hope this is helpful
alphapup
Business Development Manager
If the price is significantly out of line with what they can afford - does it really matter if you talk about it when they ask as opposed to...a couple calls later? 

Give them a realistic range and make sure neither of you are wasting time!
TheKing
Old School Bravo
+1
CEO
In every industry, there are consistently three types of companies.

There is a down and dirty, no quality too poor that we can't cut it more, type of company.  They will always have the lowest price.  They have their place.  There is always that buyer who purchases on price alone...and they always get what they paid for.  This is also (usually) the company that fields the most complaints (their customers have forgotten about that sweet low price they scored and are indignant that they are not receiving the same quality as they would have from the best in that segment)

  On the other end of the spectrum, we have the very best, and usually the most costly (and in a lot of cases, the most cost efficient).

In the middle is everyone else, jockeying for the value proposition.

The question is: what segment are you in?

If you are the low cost leader, you lead with price.  If you are the top dog, that is the focus of your presentation.  If you are in the middle, you go for the value proposition.

However, the biggest question is where does your prospect land?  And how does that line up with your segment?  You'll never sell 100% of the prospects, so identifying your prospect determines your strategy.

Yes, it's OK to give them a range if you are unsure of where your prospect lies.  If you believe them to be shopping based only on price, then let it fly and they can eliminate themselves.

Ask the probing questions.  If they are pressing you on price, qualify and ask: "you are probably aware we are the leaders in this segment.  I know everyone has a budget, but is that your only consideration?"  That should give you some insight on your path forward.
TheHypnotist
Opinionated
+2
Sales Manager
I give a price range and I deliberately give it early. If you don't have the money then I ain't wasting my time (and yours). 

If you deliberately avoid talking about price then this will normally be a red flag for the prospect.

Note: not having budget is NOT the same as not having the money. If they say the don't have budget or can't afford it, this does not mean the conversation is over.
Pr
ProteinFart
Contributor
+1
ISR
Tbh, I got absolutely shocked over how rarely a prospect raises an eyebrow when I give verbal indicative pricing.
$1m is a huge number to us, but rarely for them; provided you’ve prospected properly and uncovered that you solve a real headache.
I used to leave pricing to my resellers, but my resellers who subscribe to the whole “show value before giving out price” idiocy have lost us plenty of budget cycles by stalling.
Sa
SalesSavage4Ever
Contributor
Account Executive
You have to give a range because at the end of the day it will help you qualify the opportunity and help the customer manage budget expectations on their end.  


Give a large range (regardless if its a big or small oppty).  Customers do not like hearing "well it depends".  Though it may be true, most customers have an allergic reaction.  Then follow up with "pending more scoping and further conversation".


If they push back on the lowest price, you know not to put too many calories there.  
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