"Can't you do better than that? Your competitors'
quotes are 15% lower than yours!"
Winning when you're the more expensive option is a
challenge all of us face at one time or another. The key
is understanding that behind this objection lies a
request for clarification, for education, for information.
In this case, the prospect may be asking, "Are you
worth more, and if so, why?" Or he may be asking,
"Is there something of value missing from the other
proposals that would account for their quotes' being
lower?" In the end, the question he needs
answered is, "With which vendor will I be getting the
best deal?" where "deal" means "value." When
phrased this way, this objection becomes a
pretty reasonable request, doesn't it? Your job
as a seller, then, is to establish the superior
value of your offering. If you can't do that, you
can't expect to be awarded the business, let alone
command a higher price.
So how do we go about establishing our superior
value? We start by recognizing that "value" has two
components - what you get and what you give up.
Benefits and costs. The
ratio of return vs.
As sellers, we need to demonstrate that this ratio is
highest with our offering (notice that I did not say we
have to have the lowest cost, nor the most
It's the two in combination that matter.). To do
this we must first determine the benefits that are
important to this prospect, and position
ourselves as the best solution for him on this basis. We
accomplish this by asking questions.
Discovery questions that uncover what
this prospect is looking to accomplish? What set of
benefits he does he consider to be important?
Leading questions that get
him to value benefits we offer that our competitors
don't (of course, this means you have
to know what your competitive advantages are!).
Questions that get at what this person's
agenda is -
what factors influence him, what motivates him, and
how will he ultimately make a decision, when all the
hard analysis is over and done with (see sales tips #9, and
#10, in which
we discussed the
complex set of factors that go into how people make
Having now made a persuasive case for our
offering, our next task is to make an equally persuasive
case that it's worth what we're asking. The good news
is, having demonstrated your superior solution, your
burden is now considerably lighter - you've already
increased the top part of the benefits/cost ratio. Your
prospect now wants to buy these benefits from you,
but may still need a little extra convincing on the cost
side. One way to do this is to have him consider and
compare the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of
the various solutions. If you know that the cost of
owning your product or service will, in the long run, be
the same as or less than that of your competitors'
products or services, you need to share this with your
prospect, who may only be focusing only on what he's
going to have to spend now. Other cost-
side benefits, he may want are avoidance of the non-
financial "psychic" costs such as less worry, and the
lower risk that comes with working with you and your
Now, will this approach eliminate all haggling? Of
course not. It is human nature to want to get the best
deal we can. But by using this approach, you'll be
better able to maintain price integrity, while at the
same time out maneuvering your lower-priced
Pick a deal you're working on where price is an issue an
ask yourself the following questions. Have I established
my product's or service's superiority by aligning its
benefits with what's important to my prospect? Have I
established the advantages I provide vis à vis the lower
priced alternatives? Have I established investment
superiority by demonstrating a lower Total Cost of
Ownership. Have I established a lower psychic
cost to doing business with me and my company? If
not, go to it! For once you've done this, your prospect
will see clearly that you have a solution that is worth
the extra up-front investment - an offering that will
allow you to turn the tables on your low-priced
competitors. And now your prospect (if he isn't already
sold on you), has to go back to your competitors and
ask the same question of them as he did of you -
"Can't you do any better?"
And this time, he doesn't mean price!