The topic of where and when a business should state its prices is an interesting one – and it’s something that business owners ask me about often. Should you state your prices in your marketing materials, such as your website or brochure?
Some people are very transparent and clear about what their prices are – often these are businesses that sell products, rather than services which may be tailored or customised based on client need.
But other business owners feel strongly that prices should be revealed on an inquiry basis – they happily talk about their prices once a prospect has asked about them. But they don’t want to openly state them – for a number of reasons, which we’ll look at here.
In my experience I have found that businesses that are open and transparent about their prices are more effective and efficient in the sales process than those that don’t disclose pricing early on. So I feel quite strongly about letting prospects know as much information as possible about how your products or services are priced.
Why people are afraid to talk about pricing:
I’ve come across three common reasons why some people don’t list their prices:
1. They’re worried that their competitors will find out their prices, and they don’t want to easily give away more information to competitors. My response to this is that in this age of public information transfer, a competitor can easily find out what you charge by doing some mystery shopping.
2. They think it will limit their ability to change their prices in future – this question came from someone just starting her business. So my advice here is to use include language such as “introductory price” or “launch price” if you think you’re going to change your prices.
3. They think that if they leave some information out, the prospect will have a reason to get in touch with them, so they’ll call and then they can have an engaging conversation with them about what the company sells. Wrong. You know yourself, in a marketplace where there are several providers, if you can’t find what you need you’ll just move on to the next provider. Think about websites – if you can’t quickly find an answer that you’re looking for, you’ll look at another website.
Why it’s important to talk about pricing:
People are more likely to buy when they’re in a happy or relaxed state of mind. If they’re confused or frustrated, they won’t part easily with their money as they’ll be hesitant and question their buying decisions.
Yes, sometimes we purchase when we feel the urgency or stress to buy a solution to our problem. But often those are the purchases that we regret or re-think after. This is when “buyer’s remorse” sets in. Often these are the clients that try to return things or get their money back – or, in a service industry, question the amount they were charged.
So put your prospective clients in that happy, reassured state of mind. Make the transaction EASY for them and be transparent about your prices.
A few easy ways to talk about pricing:
This is a bit easier if you sell products. If you sell services, often you adjust your prices based on the complexity of the solution you’re providing and put together an estimate or quote on a case-by-case basis. You may not want to state a price upfront that will remain fixed in your prospect’s mind.
So I suggest giving prospective clients an approximate price – or a ball park price – so they know early on whether they can afford your services. There are a few ways you can do this:
The most important thing in all of this is to MAKE IT EASY.
You be the one to raise the subject in your sales meetings or calls. You know the prospect is wondering about price, so the sooner you can put their mind at ease, the better. If you’re open and transparent about pricing right from the start, they’ll trust you more.
Raise the subject by saying something along the lines of: “One of our three most frequently asked questions is usually around price. So this might be a good time to talk about that.”
How to talk about pricing without focusing on pricing
The tricky thing about all of this is figuring out how discuss pricing with a prospect, without them actually focusing on pricing. You don’t want people deciding whether to work with you or not purely based on how much you charge.
So instead, focus on the VALUE that you offer. What outcomes do your clients end up with? In all of your discussions and in all of your marketing materials, focus on the end results, not the process.
Marketing is a constant process of testing, measuring and adjusting. Try the approaches outlined above and tweak them as needed. Remember, nothing is written in stone. Try mentioning your prices on your website and track how your page analytics change. Test a few different ways of broaching the subject in your sales conversations and listen to the responses.