By: David Jacoby on May 16th, 2023
How to Overcome the "It's Too Expensive" Objection
As a salesperson, you'll often encounter objections from buyers regarding the price. Though these objections can be frustrating, it's crucial to grasp the reasons behind them in order to handle them effectively. This article explores three common reasons for price objections and three tactics you can use to overcome them.
3 Common Reasons Behind the "It's Too Expensive" Objection
While price objections may seem straightforward, they can often stem from complex underlying reasons. Here are a few common ones:
Reason #1: Not Enough Value
Customers may need help understanding the total value of your solution, and therefore, they may not see the justification for paying the price you're asking. This can also happen when a customer compares your solution to a competitor’s cheaper solution.
Another source of price objections may be the non-purchase costs associated with buying your solutions. For example, training, implementing new processes, and maintenance costs – i.e., the total cost of ownership. In the customer’s mind, all of these costs are in addition to the purchase price, reducing the overall value of your solution.
Reason #2: Weak Need/Unmet Need
Price objections can also be a symptom of the buyer not feeling a sense of urgency to take action. In these cases, the buyer may have acknowledged a problem, but the problem isn’t a high priority. Alternatively, customers may perceive that your solution doesn’t fully address their problem, whether correctly or incorrectly.
Customers then often raise objections as a way to end the sales conversation without having to say no directly.
Reason #3: No Budget
Sometimes, customers have legitimate budgetary constraints that limit their ability to buy your solution at the price offered. These situations are incredibly frustrating for sales professionals since the buyer essentially says, “My hands are tied.” In some cases, this objection can be less legitimate – the customer wants a “good deal,” whether driven by their personality or a desire to show their boss that they saved the company money.
So how can you overcome price objections?
3 Tactics to Overcome Price Objections
Tactic #1: Avoid the Objection Before It Happens
First, try to avoid the objection before the buyer raises it.
Consider these common examples of price objections that you have likely encountered.
“Your price is too high.”
“Your product costs more than your competitors.”
“We don’t have the budget for this initiative right now.”
Now ask yourself which examples are preventable, and which are unavoidable and why? Focus on your selling to the extent that you generate unnecessary objections. Many price objections arise not because of the actual price of your solution but because of “how you're selling.”
Maybe you talk too much about features, don’t listen to the buyer, or don’t ask enough discovery questions to uncover their needs.
How would you react if a salesperson presented you with features that didn't solve your problems? The more the salesperson talks about features you're not interested in, the more concerns you'll have about the price.
To prevent these objections, do a better job uncovering and developing buyer needs early in the sales process. Then help the buyer see how your product can address those needs.
Let’s look at the first point – uncovering and developing buyer needs. Top salespeople ask questions that uncover and expand the buyer’s needs. Consider the following sequence for your questions:
- “What concerns do you have?”
- “How does this problem impact profitability?”
- “Why is it important to solve this problem?”
- “What are the benefits of this solution for other areas of the business?”
- “Which of these options impacts your bottom line most?”
Notice how these questions help the buyer better identify their problem and then consider the consequences of the problem and why they should solve it.
Second, top salespeople talk about their capabilities in a way that helps buyers make the connection between their needs and the solution. They sell on the value of their solution, and you can’t sell value by only focusing on product features.
Features have no inherent value to the buyer. Buyers value features when they address a need that matters to that buyer. If the buyer doesn't see the connection between their needs and what you propose, they'll not see the value of your solution. The buyer’s likely reaction—of course—is a price objection.
In some cases, objections occur because the customer is still in the early stages of their buying process and doesn't have all the information to make a decision yet. When this occurs, take a few steps back in your sales process to learn more. There may be new requirements to uncover or other stakeholders that need to be involved.
Tactic #2: Manage the Objection
Even if you have done an excellent job uncovering the buyer’s needs and showing how your solution addresses those needs, customers can still raise price objections. The key is recognizing that many price objections are predictable, so know what they are and rehearse how to handle them. That way, you'll be more comfortable handling them.
For example, if you sell a product priced higher than the competition, understand your key points of competitive differentiation. Practice making your case, whether that means discussing better quality, lower total cost of ownership, or more innovative features.
To confidently handle customer objections in the sales process, use the ACAC model.
The first step is to listen carefully and with empathy. Take a genuine interest in the concern and try to understand it from the customer's perspective. Avoid patronizing or becoming defensive. Resist the urge to interrupt and respond right away. These are common pitfalls that can quickly derail the conversation.
Whether it's a misunderstanding, a bias, or a strong opinion, it's important to acknowledge the customer's point of view. Acknowledging and empathizing is not the same as agreeing with the customer— it's about letting them know you’ve heard them.
For example, if they raise a concern price, you might say, “I understand that the price is higher than you initially discussed.”
Showing the customer that you are listening to their concerns helps you address the issue.
Clarify the Issue
To ensure that you correctly understand the core issue and address the actual concern, take a moment to clarify the issue. Often customers initially raise a price objection but have a more important underlying reason that can only be discovered by asking questions and probing.
This can also prevent you from sounding confrontational because the objection may be a simple misunderstanding. Clarification questions often give the customer options to choose from. For example, “Is it the price of the product or the implementation costs that concern you the most?”
This helps you assess the customer’s priorities and respond correctly.
Address the Objection
After clarifying the issue, it's time to address the objection. The root cause of many objections relates to perceived value, resistance to change, or need versus solution alignment. For example, “The high level of customization required resulted in the price being slightly higher than we initially discussed. However, having a customized solution that better integrates with your current software will save you money in the long run.”
The last stage is to confirm that the objection has been answered. It's essential that you address any lingering reservations before moving into the final stages of closing the deal. Ensure that the customer understood your response and ask whether you have appropriately addressed their concern. For instance, “Does that help clarify our pricing?”
If they don’t seem convinced, you have more work to do. To increase your objection-handling skills, list your frequently asked questions and common price-related issues. Fine-tune your answers to help others truly understand the concern.
Tactic #3: Don’t Discount, Trade
Finally, in some cases, despite your best efforts, it is impossible to prevent the price objection or overcome it. In these cases, only offer a discount if you ask for something in return. You should always ask for something in return because if you don’t, you signal that more concessions can be had.
When trading with a customer, the golden rule is to maximize the benefit to the customer while minimizing the cost to you. You may avoid discounting entirely by offering the customer creative payment terms, guaranteed future pricing, or an extended warranty – all things the customer may value highly but could that you can provide at a minimal cost.
If such trades don’t work, consider unbundling your solution rather than discounting. So, if the customer has a limited budget or insists on “getting a deal,” respond by subtracting elements from your solution to meet the price, the customer is willing to pay. Of course, tell the buyer, in this case, that the only way to meet their price is to subtract value from your solution. Sometimes the shock of hearing this will cause the buyer to drop their price objection.
When it comes to sales, price objections are a natural part of the process. The underlying reasons behind price objections include the customer’s belief that your solution doesn’t offer enough value, they have a weak need, or they have a limited budget.
No one likes getting sales objections. Objections can slow down your sales momentum and build a barrier between you and the buyer. Before your next sales call, think about how you can sell differently to prevent objections and practice handling common objections. If the buyer nevertheless insists on a discount, always ask for something in return.
About David Jacoby
As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.