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Tammy Camp

Pricing; the real last taboo. Actually, the real TWO last taboos. Asking for money and standing up and announcing to the world that you think you’re worth something. Both have emotional, cultural and personal ties deep inside of us.

It’s a scenario that’s a whole lot worse if you’re a creative, or a self-starting entrepreneur. In these cases you are printing out a barcode and pasting it firmly to your forehead.

To add to the drama, if you’re negotiating for business with a larger organization, the negotiation table is probably going to include a representative from accounts, and there’s always going to be a clash of personalities if there’s an accountant in the room. As a creative or a self-starter you have vision, imagination and a desire to be outside of the box. As a corporate accountant you are only concerned with keeping the box intact and box-shaped. These purposes in life use completely different areas of the brain. These two types of people do not see the world in the same way. If you’ve ever wondered into the accounts department on dress-down Friday, you’ll understand what I mean.

We need to bottle some arrogance and stand our ground. I remember reading about a top wedding photographer’s approach to standing firm on his prices. Couples who view his portfolios are wowed by his work. “My packages start at $10,000,” he’ll tell them as the negotiations begin. “But our photography budget is only $5,000,” they plead. “I’m so sorry,” he replies, closing his books. Invariably, they are back two weeks later having cancelled the video guy, the wedding band and whatever else they can to meet the cost.

If they want you, they WILL find a way. That side of it is their problem. Reminding ourselves of that is our problem.

David Alison

Interesting sales technique Simon, and I do agree that answering with caveats like "we can negotiate", etc. are a complete fail. I disagree however with effectively telling them "we'll get to that later" because it sets off red flags for the buyer. I know because I've purchased many expensive products and services—whether consulting engagements or enterprise class systems—and when I get the "we'll get to that later" statement I am immediately on guard and feel I'm being sold to.

If I ask the price it's because I'm concerned about costs. I believe a more effective way of dealing with that question is to immediately turn the focus of the conversation into exploring what it will cost by asking more questions and engaging the prospect. "The cost? Let's map out your needs to our (product/service) and put an estimate together". Instead of dodging the question I believe it's best to attack it head on.

I realize that this is pretty close to what you are recommending people do, though I believe it's important to make that "work together to figure it out" be presented in a way that responds directly to what the prospect is asking.

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