I had a crazy pricing conversation a couple of weeks ago – a real nail-biter!
I have been selling to a Fortune 500 company. On a larger deal than I have closed in quite some time.
We were in legal, negotiating the contract.
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They had seen our price list. They had picked their products, we had an order form.
Then, came the price conversation. They asked for a separate conversation to “iron out the details of the order form.”
Sure, no problem.
We get on the phone and they start laying out their problem. They think our service is awesome and they cannot wait to get started, but they absolutely MUST start the program as a PILOT and ramp up into an Enterprise solution.
So, the way they had figured it, the first year should cost about 25% of our quoted price. Then, they could ramp up to full capacity.
They complained that if they couldn’t get this 75% discount, the person running point on the project would probably lose his job because the executives were counting on him to get the right deal at the appropriate price.
SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT DISCOUNT? NOW? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
I apologized. I said, “I’m truly sorry if I wasn’t clear about our pricing from the beginning. Even your COO has seen the pricing. That is what we charge. Perhaps we should remove some of the extras you’ve chosen and start with a Basic Plan – then ramp up from there”
They tried a different tack. They said, “We want all the extras, they seem essential to us. However, the price you quoted was for an Enterprise solution… we are only going to roll out to a few business units at first. What can you help with?”
I considered their request. I said, “We only offer our services on an Enterprise basis, unlimited access … how you use it is your choice. I truly apologize. I thought that was clear. Have I misled you?”
They assured me that I hadn’t misled them, but that the pricing was not going to work for their use case.
They asked me to please set up a conversation with my manager because he had been so flexible and helpful in the contract negotiations, they were sure that he would see reason and help them get what they needed so that they wouldn’t be fired by the executives.
I said I would certainly ask him. They said, “We know that you are an optimistic person, bring that optimism to the conversation.”
I smiled and replied, “I am optimistic that our solution is going to make a huge difference at your company. The rest is in my manager’s hands now.”
GUESS WHAT HAPPENED.
My manager backed my play. He believes in our product. He believes in our pricing.
My manager did not get on a phone call, he simply wrote an email to my day-to-day contacts and to the executives who were evaluating our service. He stated that he understood my prospect may have some things to work out at the company level before they were ready to onboard our product, and that we were sure it would be a wildly successful partnership when they were prepared to make the required investment. We were ready when they were.
We sent the email.
I heard NOTHING back.
I was sure the deal was lost. Finally, I took a deep breath and wrote an email, just to my contact.
It said, “In light of the message my manager sent earlier this week, how is your company thinking about the project now?”
A day later, I got the message: “We are updating the pricing in the contract. We will have a new turn of the document to you early next week.”
Yesterday, the contract closed at FULL PRICE!
Moral of the story. Know the value of your service and stand behind it. If the price you are asking isn’t the “real” price, they why are you asking for it and how can you possibly defend it?
Oh, and, have a management team that backs you up! 🙂
Love ’em UP!
The Irreverent Sales Girl