Value over Price – Sales Questions to Engage Customers

Selling value over price is a number one obstacle for many of my sales training clients. It’s a subject I talk about quite often. In fact, I got a lot of great feedback on the last blog, Your Sales Proposition – Shift the Conversation from Price to Value. Many readers had encountered similar sales challenges and objections, customers pushing to get a price without knowing anything else about the products or services offered. One reader in particular stood out…

Ted sells IT equipment to companies throughout the Midwest. He contacted me because he kept running into the same problem. Customers would get his number or email address and then contact him with the same type of question over and over. For example, here’s what one of his customers asked, “What is the price on 20 phones and 20 computers for a small law office?”

Ted found that if he just gave the price, the conversation would end there. He would try to engage with these customers, but Ted kept getting the brush off. Most of the time, he never heard back after sharing the price.

What could he do differently, Ted wondered?

What to do about customers boxed-in on price

I urged him not to give the price right away. Instead, he could answer queries based on price alone with a return question:

We have a lot of choices here, from our entry level X to our premium customized product line that is exceptionally durable and guaranteed for life. So tell me, what are you looking to accomplish with this purchase?”

This question allows you to get the customer talking about needs, wants, frustrations, goals for the future — what’s valuable to him. Many times this is the beginning of a beneficial, engaging dialogue.

Sometimes, this one question is enough to get the ball rolling with a customer. But what if you meet additional resistance?

Don’t quit – Keep asking questions to determine what your customer values

Ted used this technique for several weeks and reported back to me, that most of the time, he was successful. But, remember that feisty, small office customer, mentioned earlier? He still wouldn’t budge, responding, “I don’t want to talk about it! I just want to know what the price is for those 20 phones and 20 computers!”

In this circumstance, I advised Ted to continue with:

Specific prices for these products vary greatly. You can expect to pay anywhere from $100-$1,000 per unit. The price depends on the quality, performance, durability, service and warranties for the unit.

So let me ask you — What are you using now? Where would you like to see improvement?”

Asking the right questions will allow you to determine:

  • What’s important to your customer besides price?
  • Where your customer is dissatisfied with their current situation?
  • What price your customer is currently paying?
  • Why your highest price is the lowest total cost solution?

So, like I told Ted, don’t give up, and don’t give in. Give the customer a wide range of options. This way the sales negotiation will not be boxed-in on price. Determining what your customer values will help you close the sale!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search Articles

Paul Cherry

For over two decades, sales expert and author PAUL CHERRY has helped B2B sales professionals close more deals in all major industries. As a recognized thought leader in customer engagement strategies, Paul Cherry has been featured in more than 250 publications, including Investor’s Business Daily, Selling Power, Inc., Sales & Marketing Management, The Kiplinger Letter, and Salesforce.

Performance Based Results

Paul Cherry is the president of Performance Based Results. PBR delivers intense, customized sales team training programs and sales management coaching to companies throughout North America. Paul has worked with more than 1,200 organizations, including 175 of the Fortune 500, plus more than a thousand entrepreneurial, small to mid-sized, cutting-edge businesses looking to dominate their niche markets. Clients typically get 7 times their return-on-investment (ROI) or better.

Questions That Sell

Paul Cherry’s top-rated bestseller, Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants (AMACOM) has been listed on BookAuthority’s “100 Best Sales Books of All Time” and has been published in four languages. He is also the author of Questions That Get Results (Wiley) and The Ultimate Sales Pro (HarperCollins Leadership).