“How much is it?” your prospect asks.

Your brain vaguely reminds you that you are not usually supposed to talk price during the prospecting phase. Yes, you are sure you’ve been told that a few times, but this prospect is different, right? After all, others warned you he is a salt-of-the-earth, don’t-beat-around-the-bush, blunt but fair kind of guy. Clearly, he sees the value in your product or service and he is asking the price question quickly because he’s thinking of buying and needs to see if he can squeeze it into his budget. This is obviously a buying signal. Yes, you also vaguely remember being told about buying signals, and not to talk yourself out of a sale when they pop up. The right thing to do here is clearly to spit out your best price and try to get this thing closed quick before your prospect loses patience. Right?

Sound familiar? Ever had some or all of those thoughts enter your head? You’ve been pummeled with so many catchy phrases of sales advice over the years that it can become hard to figure out which ones to heed. After all, some of them contradict each other. How can you “not talk yourself our of a sale” and “value your prospect’s time” and refuse a direct question, especially about something like price?

If you are not a Star Wars fan, allow me to introduce you to Admiral Ackbar.

Admiral Ackbar is famous for screaming out “It’s a trap!!” in one of the Star Wars movies. From this day forward, every time a prospect asks you about price prior to the discovery/needs assessment conversation, I want you to visualize the admiral yelling “It’s a Trap!!!” in your ear.

Until you understand the pain/issue your product or service can solve, and the impact (including financial) of that pain on your prospect, you are not qualified to answer any questions around price. period. Price questions are always, always, always a trap when they are asked prior to a full understanding of the problem.

It is an easy way for a prospect to get rid of you, or to get you to offer your lowest price (usually just to use it as a negotiating tool with the company they are ACTUALLY planning to buy from). It is always a trap.

Once you understand the issue, and the price of that issue, you are in a position to present the price in comparison to the price of the problem. Otherwise, you are showing someone a price tag without showing them what the price tag buys. That is the equivalent of walking into a car dealership and getting prices on cars that are completely covered up.

It is simply unprofessional to start quoting pricing until you know a few things.

1 – Does this prospect even have a problem your product can fix?

2 – If they do, what is the financial impact of that problem?

3 – Do you want them as a customer? (can they be a profitable client?)

Until you know those things, you have everything to lose, and nothing to gain by quoting a price.

Pull rank on the prospect and say something along the lines of:

“I’m not sure if we’re even a fit for you yet, or what it would take exactly to help you if we are. Can we discuss your specific needs around______ a bit more?” 

Stay out of the worst of all sales bear traps. Admiral Ackbar is watching!