How to Turn the “Cost” Question into an Advantage (and Motivate Your Prospect to Act)

Here’s a question most sales reps dread:

“So what is your product going to cost me?”

You know you’ll have to face it eventually, but if it’s not handled with tact, your answer can sound scary—and the dialogue you’ve worked so hard to cultivate with your prospect can end abruptly.

The good news is there’s a trick to handling the cost question that can actually turn it into a potent weapon on your behalf… and generate more interest in what you have to offer.

Here’s how it works:

Clarify the Cost of Doing Nothing

Imagine this scenario:

You have your prospect on the phone. By asking thoughtful questions, you succeed in getting her to open up about her priorities and challenges. She even admits she’s open to a solution. And then she asks about the cost of your product. 

Makes total sense. Even though she knows she has a problem that needs addressing, she needs to do the cost-benefit calculation, determine whether she has the budget, etc.

But while her question is completely understandable, she’s only considering one part of the cost equation.

She’s focused on the cost of acting. Your job is to remind her about the cost of not acting.

Because the fact is, her problem costs her money. (That’s why it’s a problem.) And every day she doesn’t act to address it, she’s losing more money.

That can be a major motivator…

...if you approach it in the right way.

Beat Your Prospect to the Punch on Cost

The best way to turn cost into an advantage? Bring it up first.

As soon as you’ve got your prospect talking about her challenges—before she’s even thinking about spending money on a solution—encourage her to think about those challenges in terms of money wasted and opportunities lost.

Ask her: “Wow, that sounds frustrating. How much is that costing you?”

Encourage her to be even more specific:

  • “Are you losing out on new business opportunities?”
  • “How do your employees feel about your situation? Are you seeing a dip in engagement and morale?”
  • “Are your production costs higher? What about your time to market?”

In many instances, the questions may be more nuanced: “What’s the cost of not solving the problem in the ‘right’ way?”

Let your prospect define what the “right way” means to her. For most prospects, the right way isn’t necessarily the cheapest way. If price is the only thing that matters, you may decide that you are not the right fit. You can decide if you want to invest your time in this particular opportunity.

These are all reasonable questions. They get at the heart of the challenges facing your prospect, and help define its size and scope in a tangible way. And your prospect may view “cost” in a new way.

So when she eventually asks what it will cost her to do business with you, your answer can be heard in a much more favorable light...

...and can actually provide a clearer path to the next step for both you and your prospect.