Sales Tip: Never Escalate Price


I have a few sales rules I like to follow, and one of them is to never escalate price when you’re talking to a client that isn’t familiar with what you’re selling. That means that if you start out quoting $1 for Service X, keep talking about that same service and same price, unless the prospect asks for another service. Don’t—under any circumstances—start talking about Service Y at $10 if they’re not sure about Service X. Why? Because if you do, you’ll be escalating the perceived price of the first service.

Price escalation is mental, of course, and it depends on how familiar your prospect is with that you do. If you’re selling something familiar like a gym membership, most people will understand that the more expensive option has more features. But what if you’re selling something technically complex? If you mention $1 and then suddenly mention $10, the prospect might not necessarily understand that you’re talking about two separate things. They might wonder if there are hidden costs… or if there’s something sneaky going on…

Am I’m buying something I can use, or do I have to upgrade to get something that will actually be helpful? Am I getting roped into an upsell? Will they trap me with a low cost, and then force me to somehow pay more once I’m committed?

We’ve all been in situations where we thought we had to pay a certain amount, only to find out—when it was time to sign on the dotted line­—that there’s more to it. For example, car leases that include hundreds of dollars in transport fees. Fees that were not mentioned during the negotiation process.

It’s not a fun feeling, so why risk making people feel that way?

I was in a situation recently where I was told something would be free. Then suddenly free turned into $200, and then $500. When I asked why, I was explained that they were different services. Silly me, I didn’t catch that part because I’ve never bought that kind of service before. Maybe that was my fault, but it got me paranoid. I lost trust in my salesperson, and he lost the sale.

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