What “How Much” Really Means To A Customer

Imagine this. You’re talking to a prospective customer about your services. Bridges are being built. Rapport is getting established. Felt needs are being uncovered. Then they suddenly ask you “how much?” 

Everything goes silent. You sweat profusely and your mouth dries up rendering you unable to utter a word in response.

Truly, it’s frustrating when a customer asks how much something is unless, of course, you know what to say.

First of all, you have to know that value is not equal to price.

Don’t get me wrong. Your value should give a clear indication of your asking price. However, just because your solution meets your prospect’s wants and needs, doesn’t mean customers will automatically know the price.

It’s inevitable for customers to ask you what Hubspot calls The Most Dangerous Question: “how much?

Any salesperson knows how dreadful it is to be on the receiving end of this inquiry. A wrong response can throw everything you’ve built down the toilet. On the other hand, knowing how to answer the price question can give you the coveted “yes” you so desire.

Here, I’ll share with you the trade secrets on how to respond when someone asks how much something costs. Keep reading.

How Does A Salesperson Create Value_How Does A Salesperson Create Value?

“Generally speaking, it’s best to establish the value of a thing before you name its price.”

— Roy H. Williams

As a salesperson, it’s your job to create value for the customer, especially during the sales call. Creating value is not about putting out and shoving down their throats a long list of features and benefits. Rather, it’s about making prospects envision how your solutions can be advantageous to them. 

For instance, imagine a customer looking for a hack saw. A feature they may be looking for is a hack saw strong enough to cut through steel. The benefit of this is having a successfully sawed-off steel object.

Have you ever met a person that loves cutting steel on a whim? Me neither. 

Creating value is about letting customers see the advantage of how they can use your product. In that example, the advantage may be to cut through old pipes so they can replace them with new ones. 

In an ideal scenario, this interaction should come first before telling them how much something costs and closing the deal. However, there are instances when that doesn’t happen, and you need to prepare for the worst.

You need to know how to respond when a prospect asks you “how much does it cost?

Always keep in mind that when people ask that, they want to hear a number. To say anything else other than a number will make you look stupid, defensive and evasive. More often than not, online “sales gurus” will tell you to respond with either one of these 4 things:

  • A probing question: Does our solution interest you?
  • A qualifying statement: I see, you have eyes for quality.
  • A nervous stalling excuse: It’s not always about the price, it’s about value…
  • A long list of features and benefits

That’s bad advice. The best way is not to dodge the question, be upfront and state the price. Can you imagine how annoying it is when you search “iPhone 14 price” and Google gives you the specifications, instead? That’s how it feels. Don’t follow bad advice.

If you want to leverage your solutions even when customers ask “how much?” you need expert direction from real salespeople. Wizard of Sales® happens to be that guy. Book a call and I’ll tell you everything.

Why _It depends_ is NOT An Appropriate ResponseWhy “It depends” is NOT An Appropriate Response

Ask any salesperson you know and they’ll probably say this is the best fallback phrase. To be fair, it’s the truth, especially in the residential home service industry. No prospect faces the same problem, and different problems require varying solutions with distinct prices.

The problem is that it’s not wise to answer “how much?” with a vague “it depends.” While no solution is one size fits all, it’s better to give a range than provide no concrete answers.

For example, when asked how much your air-conditioning units cost. You could say: 

Our ductless mini-split AC range from $5,000 to $9,500. This covers materials, installation, and labor and a one-year warranty that if anything breaks. Repairs are on the house. Furthermore, you get an air handler and an outdoor compressor. The number of indoor units we install will depend on how big your house is. 

On the other hand, the more premium central AC is around $11,500 to $19,000, with all the same razzle-dazzle. Of course, there are other factors that may affect the overall pricing, like your duct work and building code requirements. Asking a few questions more will help us better understand your circumstance and give a more accurate quote.

Here’s a breakdown of why this works:

  • On average 

This tells prospects that this is the normal price that customers pay but you can go lower or higher.

  • Other factors may affect… 

This keeps prospects from fixating on the range you’ve given and instead thinking of their specific setting.

  • Asking a few more questions… 

This assures them that you want to get to the bottom of their problem before giving a more accurate answer.

The key here is giving a price range and, without taking your breath, listing all the value that justifies the price. Experts would finish the value stack with a payment range to further reduce the investment down to the ridiculous. 

Unlike other businesses, it’s perfectly normal for residential home services to have an initial discussion of a problem before negotiating the price. What I mean is that customers won’t normally ask how much your services cost before explaining their problems first. This period of discussion will give you enough room to discuss the value of your solutions in either:

  • Soothing their pain points
  • Satisfying their pleasure points

Once they know your true value, evading the how much question seems to be illogical. Giving a range, or better yet, an accurate number (if you’re perfectly certain) is the better response.

2 Types of Salespeople

You’ll meet and hire all sorts of salespeople in your business. What’s interesting is that the question “how much?” also reveals layers of who they are underneath. There are 2 types of salespeople:

  1. Old School Salesperson
  2. New School Salesperson

You want to train your people to answer boldly and upfront when met with a pricing question. Otherwise, you risk your business. Below we’ll discuss the telltale signs of how to differentiate the two. Stay tuned.

Old School Salesperson

The old-school salesperson is the guy or gal who’s been in sales for a long, long time. They’ve been doing it the same way for just as long and don’t understand how the world has changed. They’re trapped in a bubble where everything is a negotiation.

They’re the type to answer your pricing question with a question of their own. “How much?” is met with “What are you looking to spend?” They try to figure out how much wiggle room they have to work with.

The old-school salesperson is also an avid “it depends” user. Some are also keen to use sales trap lines like “are you interested in this?” This lack of straightforwardness and sleazy style of selling comes off as off-putting to customers. Be too insistent and your prospects walk away. 

New School Salesperson

New School Salesperson

The new-school salesperson is different. They understand how the world has changed. The internet has made everything transparent and buyers are more informed than ever before.

They know that the best way to sell is by being upfront, honest and helpful. They avoid games and gimmicks, instead opting for a straightforward approach.

When a new-school salesperson is asked “how much?”, they give a straight answer. No beating around the bush. They know that this is the best way to build trust and rapport with potential customers. However, they never throw away the values that make them a company’s great negotiators.

On top of answering the price question upfront, here are other things they do:

  • They make sure to follow up the cost with the incredible value that justifies the pricing.
  • They provide a realistic range that customers can follow.
  • They dig further into the problem to offer a more precise solution and a more accurate quotation.

Obviously, there’s little chance that a tug-of-war with old-school salesperson will turn out well. You want your sales department filled with new school salespeople. 

You can do this by hiring only these types into your roster. Or you may want to train them on how the new school system works. Don’t fret if you’re currently composed of old-school salesperson. Transitioning is possible with the help of new school selling.

“How Much Does It Cost?”

In the end, this question shouldn’t be a cause for concern, especially in residential home services. You have to accept that what you’re selling are externally triggered grudge purchases, which means people buy out of need. Some buyers, especially transactional shoppers, understand that prices can be beyond budget.

In extreme cases, they won’t even bother buying your solutions despite the offensively huge value it comes with. All because of the price tag. 

In that case, an upfront, honest, clear cost is a good barrier to prevent them from stealing your oxygen. The right buyer who asks “how much does it cost?” will stay even after the price is given.

Leveraging your solutions even when customers ask you “how much?” is possible as long as you have expert guidance. Wizard of Sales® can walk you through that process. Book a free call to learn more about it.