Two things you MUST know BEFORE handling a price objection


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So you work through what appears to be a qualified sales opportunity. You can clearly meet the criteria by which the prospect is judging product and support. You are even certain your price is within the decision maker’s pre-defined budget.

You arrange for a final meeting to go over implementation time-lines and get the paperwork signed. As you begin to arrange the pertinent documents for review, the decision maker leans over and says, “Not so fast. We have a little bit of a problem. You’re going to have to adjust your pricing for this deal to get done. Your price needs to come down another 5%.”

WHAT? you think. How can this be? I distinctly remember the prospect giving me a budget of “X”. My proposal is “X” minus around 5%. This can’t be right.

The buyer explains that a competitor has made the decision more difficult by providing price incentives, making their deal difficult to refuse, The prospect would like you to engage and demonstrate your willingness to be a good partner by getting your price to where your competition has landed.

Now what? Your mind starts racing as to what you have in the deal. Do you call you manager? Do you ask for special pricing allowances? To you give up some of your commission? Not so fast. Don’t do anything until you have the answer to two simple questions.

  1. Do we have the products that you want to buy?
  2. Do we have the support organization you want to buy it from?

You see, for true negotiation to take place, both parties must first determine that each has something the other wants. If only one has something the other wants, the outcome of the negotiation can be pre-determined.

The problem for sellers is that the buyer always has something the seller wants: a signed agreement and the resulting commission check. So who has power? The buyer does and often exercises it to get better pricing.

So the first purpose of asking these questions is to establish whether or not you have any power in this negotiation.

If you ask the buyer if you have the products and support organization they want to buy and their answer is “Yes”, you now have power, just like the buyer. That couldn’t be more critical.

There is a second and critically important reason to ask these questions: Is price the real and only objection? If you ask “Do we have the products and services you want to buy?” and the answer is a “No” or a “maybe”, is price your only problem? Absolutely not. Asking these questions gives you the opportunity to uncover additional objections, all of which should be addressed before price negotiations begin. We’ve seen many situations where a sales person adjusts their price only to later find the buyer had additional objections that needed to be addressed.

There is even the potential the buyer has no intention of buying from you and is simply using you to get someone else to lower their price. If you ask these questions and the answer is “No” or “Maybe” and you can’t determine what they need to see to be certain you DO have what they want to buy, why would you lower your price? They won’t pay any price if you don’t have what they want.

So in conclusion, the next time you hear a price objection, before you react, make certain you ask these questions:

  1. Do we have the products that you want to buy?
  2. Do we have the support organization you want to buy it from?

You will either establish power in the negotiation, or you’ll uncover additional objections that need to be addressed before price negotiations begin.

  • In the current economy what are the most common objections you are facing in your industry?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bob Nicols
Bob Nicols serves as Founder and CEO of AXIOM. He has 34 years of experience in sales, sales management, executive management and sales force development. He has managed and mentored thousands of sales people, sales managers and senior managers and been responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. For more than 21 years he has developed and delivered sales programs that have become the standard for many Fortune 100 companies including AT&T, BellSouth, Disney Enterprises, Alltel, Verizon and ESPN.


  1. Very insightful Mr Nicols.

    Of course, if the buyer waffles on the “Do we have” questions things get even murkier.

    For example, “Do we have the support organization you want to buy from” could be answered ambiguously… “Yes but we like the support we receive from your competitor just as well”.

    Even trickier is when you think you are close to a deal and approach a meeting like it is a decision meeting but then the rules get changed. The Criteria shifts, or even harder to deal with, a new decision maker pulls his chair up to the table and identifies themselves as the final word.

    I like Axiom a lot but these types of tactical situations can get very difficult. In my opinion the very best practice is to have at least one incentive you have not offered yest. An ace up the sleeve so to speak.



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