The price of fleas is always negotiable. Or is it?

The price of fleas is always negotiable. Or is it?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

UntitledThe price of fleas is always negotiable. Or is it?
Price. The most perplexing of all sales obstacles.

The good part is that it indicates buyer interest. Asking,”how much is it” is THE BIGGEST buying signal. Problem is that the salesperson is so anxious to make the sale, he is willing to compromise the price to “get the sale.”

Too often salespeople have already given their price in advance of the prospect asking for it. This is a strategic disadvantage to the salesperson. Why give the price in advance? If the prospect is interested, he never has to ask “how much?” Why do salespeople take away their own strength?

Then there is the salesperson who adds insult to injury by asking the dumbest question in sales, “What will it take to get your business?” Doesn’t he already know what it will take? Don’t you? Well then why do you ask this question? “What will it take…” is an automatic price dropping line. So is its sister, “I can save you money.” Just plain stupid.

Well I have discovered a strategy that will win at your price more often than not.And it’s easier than you think.

Ever go to a flea market?

Here’s a familiar scenario. You see an item you want and you ask, “How much?”The dealer replies “$400.”I’ll give you three hundred.” You respond in a firm manner. Hoping he takes the bait. And you banter until you “settle” on a price.It’s the same in your business.When no real up-front value is established, the price is negotiable. Very negotiable.

One of the reasons they call it “sales” and “selling” is that sometimes the science of sales communication must be employed in order to complete the transaction at your price.

Here’s another version of the same flea market transaction. This time salesmanship is employed to block price negotiation.

Customer asks how much it is. You reply by asking permission to ask a question first (a qualifying question). Then lead to a series of quick questions that lead to a price offering that assures purchase.

The dialog would go like this:
BUYER: How much is this mirror?
SELLER: “How long have you been looking for a mirror like this?”
BUYER: Quite a while.
SELLER: How much do you like this one?
BUYER: This one is a beauty.
SELLER: Where will it go in your home?
BUYER: In our bedroom over the dresser.
SELLER: Are you certain it’s “the one?”
BUYER: This one is a beauty.
SELLER: I acquire the FINEST pieces and offer them at below market prices. I am one of the few dealers that can”price to sell” rather than “price to negotiate” – I’m sure you understand, being in business yourself. This piece deserves a great home, and it seems as though you will give it one – the firm price for this is $400, and I accept several forms of payment – do you want me to ship this piece or will you be taking it with you?
BUYER: We’ll take it with us, we live here in town.
SELLER: Great – did you want to write a check or use a credit card?
BUYER: Do you take AMEX?
SELLER: It’s my favorite card!
BUYER: Great.
SELLER: You made a great choice.

Here’s the concept: define need, desire, and status first. Why give the price without seeing how high the interest level is? Then state or establish the value of the product before you ask for the sale. Have a solid reason for the price. “Our prices are fair and firm.” I could just say our prices are “firm” — but I added “fair” to soften the blow, and establish their value.

In the battle for price, every word counts. It’s psychological warfare and perceived value as much as anything. As a seller you have to know the psychology, know the “why, how long, what’s prevented” things of the issue. And then build value that leads to purchase. HINT: If the customer won’t buy, it’s not their fault.

Here’s the strategy: Ask questions to qualify need and desire. Give a statement about you and the product that sets up the price as final. And when you deliver the price, ask for the sale in the same breath.

Here’s the lesson: Salespeople are not needed for the purpose of quoting a price. They are the bridge between the selling price, and the perception of value provided to earn the sale. And it all starts when the prospect says, “How much is it?”

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Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to

2003 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer o 704/333-1112