So how much? It’s a question we want to know or ask during every purchase. Buying clothes? You check the price tag. Getting a haircut? How much? The cost of a product or service plays a major role in a buying decision, yet B2B companies make a major mistake in not providing the cost of their product or service right up front. Start-ups and companies looking to scale should take note because not delivering price upfront is costing you considerable revenue.
No, I’m not crazy. Up-front pricing is what your buyers want. A 2016 Hubspot Sales perception survey showed pricing as the number one item buyers want to “talk about in the first sales call.” In the same survey, salespeople indicated price was tied for the last thing they wanted to talk about. Yes, this survey was pre-pandemic, when hopping on a plane to visit prospects was common. But even before COVID changed business forever, the price was paramount in the minds of buyers.
SaaS companies get it right for the most part. Click on “price” and you will find tiers of pricing from freemium to starter to pro to enterprise. These companies realize and embrace a prospect learning the price upfront as a vital ingredient to earning a sale. Without price upfront, prospects will find a competitor that is comfortable enough and transparent enough to satisfy this buyer requirement.
Other services and product companies argue that delivering price isn’t that easy. There are variables to be considered, quantities and delivery speeds. Details need to be gleaned to determine a price; otherwise, the price could be over- or under-estimated. If this is so, then why do B2B sales presentations, made after prospect discovery calls during which those variables have been determined, save price until the end?
Saving price until the end of the buying process is a tactic mired in old-school selling—old-school selling in which a buyer couldn’t do their own research and relied on a salesperson to provide features and benefits. We were trained to play those up, manipulate the pain, and then reveal the price as the salve.
But today? When prospects are more knowledgeable than ever, and salespeople need to be trusted advisors? Making a case for a product or service before the price is revealed shouts one thing from the mountain tops: this company does not believe the product is worth it. It also denies your prospect the top thing they want to know until the very end, which is super frustrating. And waiting to reveal price in a sales presentation, even if it’s your first slide (which it should be), can be too late.
Buyer demand for transparency in the sales process—including price—is the reason. Depending on the study, as much as 90% of the B2B buying decision is made before someone wants to talk to a salesperson. Basically, the decision-makers have done their due diligence and nearly made up their minds to purchase before they talk to anyone.
Millennials are increasingly the decision makers. Millennials are up to 40 years old, approaching career apex, and calling the shots. They grew up with tech and are accustomed to online banking and buying cars sight unseen. Transparency and sharing are at the core of their ethos. Hold back and you will likely lose trust, which doesn’t move the sales needle.
Since price is the number one thing B2B buyers want to know, and up to 90% of the process is made before contacting sales, what should you do?
First, publish your price on your website. If your quote is truly custom, then publish “small, medium, large” engagements by auditing previous sales. Then, show a range on your site.
Second, if you make a sales presentation, show the price right after your title slide. You will address the elephant in the room, and your prospect will listen to your presentation and trust you more. Resist the temptation to talk about your company and how wonderful you are first.
And no, by delivering the price early in the process, you aren’t giving away IP. Seriously, you don’t think your competitors know what your price is? Instead, give your buyers what they want, when they want it, and watch your company grow as a result.
Chad Rose, Principal chedward.com