Consulting partners who thrive in business development don't hesitate when it comes to pricing. They look at money as nothing more than a quantification. It represents the client’s perception of the value they will receive from their work.
Why does it matter? Because your goal is to make the conversation about money as easy and enjoyable as the rest of the buying process.
In practice, very few consultants achieve this. There are two counter-productive behaviors that many partners display:
- Postponing the pricing conversation.
- Turning it into a battle, or a very unpleasant experience.
Address Pricing Early And Often
Blair Enns has even expressed it in his famous rule of money: "Those who cannot talk about it, do not make it."
You should bring up pricing early and often. You start by sharing your minimum level of engagement - use broad ranges if necessary. This allows you and your client to walk away before wasting time and energy on other conversations.
If you’re too expensive, great! Find out early and refer the prospect to someone cheaper. You’ve just saved a lot of time and effort for yourself and your client.
If you’re a pricing fit, great! Advance to your discovery process and value conversations, and fine-tune your pricing as you learn more.
Lighten The Discussion
We get stressed by things that are either outside our control or things that we control but are avoiding. Pricing conversations fall into the second category.
Overcoming the discomfort of talking about money and doing it early and often will immediately reduce your stress. When you bring it up matters, but so does how you bring it up.
You can shed the heaviness of the money conversation by adopting a light and natural tone. Practice some lines to reduce discomfort. Make jokes, release the tension if you need to.
Research shows that people even negotiate less when a joke is made to start a money conversation. Think of being helpful to the client - they might be stressed about it too. If you talk about money in a natural way, they will take your lead.
Talking about money is just one of the many steps in your prospect's buying journey. Your goal is to help them and build a relationship. Delaying the pricing conversation will help neither of you.