Last week, I covered how to properly position yourself into a negotiation to avoid stumbling on the “what’s your best price?” question. That spawns the question, if you don’t start with the “best” price, what do you start with? The answer is more. You start by asking for more.
The idea that a client will somehow respond positively to a preemptive skip to your lowest possible price is a fallacy. It assumes that the client will see that as gesture of goodwill, and not as a sign of weakness. It assumes that they will believe it actually is your lowest price and not a starting point. It assumes that negotiation is a confrontation, instead of an alignment of values. It’s an approach based on false premises.
So here are my top reasons to ask for more, indeed to even ask for more than you expect to get!
1 – You might get it. That’s right, at full price, you may have just provided so much value with your solution (based on all that good questioning you did before presenting) that they buy without asking for a price reduction. It happens all the time.
2 – It gives you room to budge. If you start high, and there is a genuine issue with the ROI being valid, or concerns over value, or even a pure affordability issue, then you can adjust down (with valid concessions of course). You can not do that if you started at your lowest price.
3 – It won’t weaken you with other clients. Stalin was once heard quipping, “Three people can keep a secret, but only if two of them are dead”. No one can keep a secret. Drop your price for one client, and you can be assured that someone else is going to ask for that same price. If it wasn’t a negotiated concession, with counter adjustments, but your opening price, then it becomes the assumed market value of your service.
4 – It forces you to be confident. The only way to be able to consistently ask for more is develop your confidence in doing so. Developing your confidence will improve your results faster than anything else. It’s the way we exercise the sales muscle.
A few years ago, a referral contacted me about running a sales training for their company. In Detroit. In February. No offense to anyone from Detroit, but that’s one place that I just really don’t want to visit in February. I didn’t want the gig, and I didn’t need the gig, so in order to avoid it, I decided to price myself out of reach. I proposed a price close to double my normal rate for a one day event, fully expecting the client to reject that price. The result? The client cried out in joy, revealing that it was well below her budget number. A budget number close to THREE times my normal rate!
That’s right. Not only did I leave a significant amount of money on the table, but on top of all that, now I had to go to Detroit. IN FEBRUARY!
IF you develop a solid sales process, and follow it, you can correctly assess the value of the issue you are solving for clients, and price it appropriately, even asking for a small premium for your personal assistance in delivering that service. This is not a mandate to gouge clients on price. However, if you don’t want to end up in Detroit in February, you need to eliminate opening with anything less than the best price….the best price for YOU!