Now that we have gained an under­stand­ing of the customer’s view­point regard­ing pric­ing, it is time to take the next step: hav­ing the val­ue con­ver­sa­tion. You will not have the same val­ue con­ver­sa­tion with Cus­tomer A that you will have with Cus­tomer B. Every cus­tomer has his/her own needs, wants, and goals. These will be the key fac­tors that dri­ve this con­ver­sa­tion. Keep in mind that it is indeed just that, a con­ver­sa­tion. Not one per­son should be talk­ing the entire time. Both par­ties will need to be engaged in order to real­ly under­stand what each oth­er brings to the table. You should have at least two meet­ings with the cus­tomer through­out this process. The first meet­ing will cov­er all of the basic infor­ma­tion and help set expec­ta­tions for both par­ties and the sec­ond will be where you actu­al­ly review the poten­tial agreement.

Pri­or to the first meet­ing, it may be a good idea to send the poten­tial cus­tomer a stan­dard ques­tion­naire tem­plate. This ques­tion­naire would have basic infor­ma­tion as well as more long-term ori­ent­ed ques­tions so that you can pre­pare for the meet­ing before­hand by gain­ing a lit­tle extra under­stand­ing of who he/she is as a person.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, you can cov­er a broad vari­ety of top­ics. The goal is to have a free flow con­ver­sa­tion that cov­ers any idea that you or the cus­tomer may feel is impor­tant. Where does the cus­tomer want to be in the next year? 5 years? 10 years? What does the cus­tomer need right now in order to pro­pel them in that direc­tion? What oper­a­tional inef­fi­cien­cies are pre­vent­ing them from achiev­ing the com­pa­ny goals? What is the cus­tomer pas­sion­ate about?

All of these ques­tions will arm you with the knowl­edge that will put you in a much bet­ter posi­tion to close a deal. First, it shows that you are actu­al­ly engaged with the cus­tomer. Sec­ond, you actu­al­ly under­stand the cus­tomer and will know exact­ly how your goods and ser­vices can help them achieve exact­ly what was described above. When describ­ing how you can help them, do not be afraid to ask how much it is worth to them.

The great thing about hav­ing this con­ver­sa­tion is that it sets expec­ta­tions for both sides. There can often be a lapse of what was expect­ed ver­sus the actu­al out­come. With all of this infor­ma­tion already out­lined, you will be able to price for exact­ly what is expect­ed from you. Keep in mind that you are pric­ing the cus­tomer, not the services.

Once you have nailed down a price, it is time to deliv­er that to the client in your next meet­ing. In this meet­ing you want to be care­ful about what type of lan­guage you use. Try using the word price instead of fee, agree­ment instead of con­tract. Always ask “does that sound fair to you?” Fee and con­tract have such a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion to them that replac­ing these words will help you sound more like a part­ner with the cus­tomer. Ask­ing them if the price seems fair is a great way to get the cus­tomer to open up and give an hon­est response. If the cus­tomer says that the price is too high, then you can review the pre­vi­ous con­ver­sa­tion and the expec­ta­tions that you both set. This will once again help put things in per­spec­tive for the cus­tomer. These are sim­ple tricks, but they make a difference.

In the next and final entry of the series, we will be review­ing dif­fer­ent pric­ing strate­gies and pro­vide some tips to ensure that you are pre­pared to deliv­er the final num­ber to the customer.


To read the whole Val­ue Pric­ing series please click here.