"We would like to work with you, but really, you're too expensive..."
Classic. This is a universal objection: "You're too expensive".
In such cases, you have two possibilities:
While beginners will resist and mechanically list all the benefits, the best sales will accept to lower their price... and still win!
In this article, discover 12 ways to turn the "too expensive" objection to your advantage.
If there was only one negotiation rule to remember:
"When I give from one side, I must receive from the other."
Never give anything away for free!
To understand how a negotiation works, you must first understand the concept that has underpinned trade since the beginning of time:
Def: "The value I perceive in a product is not equal to the value my interlocutor perceives in that same product."
=> Some things cost my client almost nothing, while they are very valuable to me. Knowing how to identify this intersection is the key to making you a great negotiator.
Often the root of the "too expensive" objection is not what you imagine.
Let's try to break down the different specimens you may encounter:
We've all had to deal with them... That client with a huge budget who still negotiates every penny! Actually, this person has simply put their ego in the equation: they want to leave the discussion thinking "I am a good negotiator" .
The solution? Let him simmer for a while before finally telling him:
"Okay, you win! I'll give you a 0.2% discount, and in return we'll sign on Friday."
He is the close cousin of the negotiator out of principle, except that his ego is in the eyes of his superiors. Likewise, give him a cookie, but keep some cartridges in stock. He's more devious, so he may do this up to 3 or 4 times. Don't show all your cards in the first round.
In general, these are the company leaders or those in charge. The ones who struggle every day to get money in, and who don't intend throwing a single penny out the window.
Your advantage: French law is relatively flexible; a lot can be written into a sales contract. Your prospect wants to pay less? No problem. I'll open my bundle, and here's what I can offer you in return:
"Oc for x% reduction, and in return we want video feedback from the director on the impact of our solution within 1 month."
Customer testimonials are too often underestimated. Ask for a video format, which you will then translate into text, adding the quantified impact of your solution.
You will benefit from a strong, impactful, and infinitely reusable live proof :
"Before our meeting, I wanted to share with you the feedback from Qonto, who had the same issue as you at the time."
The icing on the cake is that these testimonials are real assists for your marketing team! Thanks to these testimonials, they will be able to attract new customers => Customers that you will sign, and from whom you will ask for new testimonials => Virtuous cycle! 🔁
Example with Qonto (725 employees - 🇫🇷)
The testimony must be well planned so as not to create friction afterwards. Plan it contractually by agreeing beforehand on its scope, the right to use the company's image and that of the person testifying, and the broadcasting methods.
"Ok for a reduction of x%, and in return we want a detailed user feedback including ..."
More advanced than the testimonial, the user feedback details the use of your solution, all illustrated with before/after figures.
This type of testimony can tip the balance in the face of a hesitant decision-maker:
"I understand your hesitation. I suggest you take three minutes to look at the feedback from the Payfit teams, who were in the same situation."
⚖️ Agree upstream on the KPIs to measure, the expected format of the study, the size of the panel, etc. - As well as on the broadcasting conditions.
"Ok for x% discount, in that case I expect the signed contract by Friday 12pm."
A prospect on the verge of signing can still fail you. The earlier your prospect signs, the more you reduce the risk of him or her slipping away => "One bird in the hand is better than two in the bush" .
"Ok for a reduction of x%, and we commit for 3 years instead of 1."
Customer loyalty is a real asset. In SaaS as in consulting, the length of the commitment is the key to business. The longer your customer commits, the more secure your perimeter becomes.
"Ok for x% discount, provided we receive 20% of the amount by Friday."
Useful if you need cash quickly or if your partners have long payment terms.
"Ok for a reduction of x%, provided that we reduce the payment term."
Read your contracts carefully. Even if they are well drafted, some clauses can be changed in your favour:
=> What are the clauses that bother you, and which do not really impact your client?
⚖️ Make sure this is legal, and check that you are not creating a significant imbalance between the parties' rights and obligations.
"Ok for x% discount, but you will get limited access to customer service."
Not a fan of this one, as it could lead to frustration on the part of the client. That being said, it remains an interesting lever if the post-deal efforts are substantial: Time-consuming customer follow-up? Troubleshooting? Support? Lighten the load on the customer team, which is already overworked ;)
=> "What costs us money, and is not valued by the customer?"
"Ok for x% reduction, and we commit to 100 licences instead of 50."
Volume-dependent offer. Classic and efficient.
"Okay for x% off, and you guarantee me an introduction to other department heads - to your counterparts - to your partners."
The person you are talking to will have connections that can be useful to you. Make sure that these introductions are qualitative and in good form.
It is advisable to agree on the purpose, terms and duration ofthe match. An introduction by a competent person will make it easier for you later on.
"Ok for x% discount, and you guarantee me ...
... to keep me informed of all your future needs."
... that when your teams grow, you will equip them with our solution as well."
Another way of securing your perimeter is by projecting yourself into the future business.
⚖️ Clearly define what the triggering event for the obligation will be, what the obligation is, and for how long.
"Ok for x% discount, and you guarantee us exclusivity for a period of ... "
Very powerful as it closes the door to all your competitors, but therefore difficult to negotiate.
⚖️ Detailed contractual formalisation is essential.
"Ok for x% discount, and in that case you:
... allow us to communicate with your name on our networks. "
... communicate about us on your networks. "
Classic, works both ways - although ideally your customers should already be talking about you. Beyond a simple post on social media, make sure you appear where your prospects are, thanks to your customer!
The key principle: when your customer uses your solution, their partners should see you.
Ex: Think of Apple, which used to sign every message sent with: "Sent from my iPhone" Imagine the impact of this technique on the billions of messages sent.
⚖️ Make sure you have the right to use the company's name or logo for communication purposes.
OK, we're not in the 1980s anymore... But inviting your clients allows you to create solid links, while enjoying yourself. Offer to go with the client team to a good restaurant, a party, an event, etc. You'll have a great time, and if it allows you to sign a contract, bingo!
The number and nature of the levers at your disposal is up to your imagination!
Among all these elements, list those that fit your business. Discuss them with your managers to find out how much leeway you have, and use your inventiveness to identify value asymmetries: "What costs my prospects nothing, and I can't get much for it?"
Some nuggets just waiting to be picked up ;)
Once the negotiation is over, have you reached an agreement?
You are approaching the closing moment...
But when is the right time to close your sale?
To answer this question, we wanted to go further. On 5 May 2022, five of the biggest names in sales got together to discuss the best way to close a deal.
And remember, a good negotiation ends with not one, but 2 winners 😉