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7 Reasons to Stop Emailing Your Pricing

Email has become the preferred method for all kinds of communication. In sales, our clients and prospective clients want us to deliver some communication and some information by email. But for most of us, including our clients, email is a graveyard for things other people need from us. Most of what goes into our inbox is useless, and even some of what is useful gets ignored anyway.

Why, then, would you ever email pricing?

You are taking yourself out of the sale: By emailing pricing, you have taken yourself out of the sale. You have eliminated your ability to influence or control the sale process by providing your prospective client with pricing. Now that they have your price, they believe that the process is complete and they can make a decision.

It eliminates the possibility of a discussion: Providing pricing by email eliminates the opportunity to have a discussion about the pricing. It eliminates the chance to clear up any misconceptions, and it eliminates the potential to capture and deal with your prospective client’s immediate feedback or questions.

It screams that you are a commodity: Emailing pricing screams that you are a commodity. It indicates that there is no real value creation—least of all by the salesperson—and that pricing should be used a deciding factor. Here’s why . . .

It’s disconnected from the value that you are creating: When you email pricing, you are disconnecting the pricing from the value that you create and that your company creates as a result of it’s pricing. Without reviewing the dissatisfaction that your solutions resolves, and without reminding your prospective client what it is they are paying you to do, the pricing is going be compared to other pricing—not the value created.

It eliminates any potential sense of urgency: Emailing pricing eliminates any sense of urgency. It can sit in your dream client’s inbox for days, or weeks, or months. In fact, they never have to look at if they don’t want to. If you were helping your dream client with their dissatisfaction, emailing the pricing and waiting will kill your momentum.

It destroys your ability capture an advance: The key to keeping the sales process moving forward is to move from advance to advance, always confirming the next commitment that moves you closer to a deal. You may have put some call to action at the end of your email, but if you have ever tried this, you know that obtaining that commitment on an email with pricing is unlikely. You have brought your own sales process to a screeching halt.

It eliminates communication: After you have emailed pricing, you will find it exponentially more difficult to get your client on the telephone. Your calls and voice mails will go unanswered. Your emails will not be returned. It’s like your prospect with the urgent need has entered the witness protection program.

With today’s technology, even inside salespeople making a transactional, low value sale can still do better than emailing pricing. With tools like GoToMeeting or Glance, you can easily schedule a meeting to review pricing and eliminate the problems you create by emailing the pricing.

Questions

When, if ever, is it appropriate to email pricing?

What commitments would make emailing pricing more acceptable? How do you mitigate the risks of emailing your prices?

Why does providing pricing by email reduce your effectiveness in managing the sales process?

How do you create value for your dream client after you have taken yourself out of the sale?

Is it easier to get your prospect’s time and attention after you have provided pricing by email?


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Comments

comments

  • Mikeyjay

    I email it so it gives me an idea how serious the person is and I am not just another bid being submitted. I can spend many many days doing price quotes as the customer (or potential customer) may have me jump through hoops and then wait, delay, hold off, or just go elsewhere.

  • Soumik0102

    Hey, with clients who use tools (such as gotomeeting etc) or have the capability of using them, things can be worked out before sending pricing. But in India, I face this issue with clients who are alien to such technology and prefer to get a pricing before the main decision makers meet up for any discussion. The trouble is the way these clients decide upon the budgets and the media buying behavior, which together act as the premise on which they intend to go ahead with a particular vendor or service provide.

    Given the complexity in decision matrix in these companies (or in my case, educational institutions), having them discuss the issues/needs/strategies etc is difficult without the prices going is first. I don’t know if this is unique to Indian setup, but this is a real time issue that plagues sales here.

    • http://www.thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      I think there is surely some occasions when discussing price can be a useful to qualifying, but it is normally premature to email pricing–and it comes with a lot of risks. 

  • Kenny

    hopefully people are not using this advice in selling to IT buyers. IT buyers want sellers to do three things:

    understand me
    trust
    price

    Not my opinion. This is what 1.7 million IT buyers tell me.  Also top hates are cold calls from IT vendors that have done zero research on their company.

    They suggest IT sellers to engage them on their terms and on their turf.

    • http://www.thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks for your thoughts, Kenny. But I don’t follow your argument. There is nothing about sending pricing by email that indicates that you better understand your prospective client. There is also nothing about emailed prices that demonstrate you should be trusted more than a salesperson that doesn’t. 

      If you sell commodities, by all means, email away. But if you don’t, you have to sell your prospect a better buying process and a better experience, and that means spending time to get things right . . . including pricing. 

      We’ll have to agree to disagree here, but I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts! 

      Anthony

  • http://www.facebook.com/ggarvin Glen Garvin

    This mindset is all about controlling the sales process in a push environment yet that isn’t the reality of our world.  We are a in a pull economy where the consumer is king.  If the customer asks for a price, we should deliver a price.  The consumer is in control.  That’s today’s reality and that’s Internet marketing 2.0.  When you consider the ZMOT being touted now on-line, you won’t even get the opportunity of customer contact if you use old-school tactics on today’s customers because they will bash you in your reviews and you’ll be left behind.

    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t build value and resourceful relationships but you need to provide value to the customer and if the customer is asking for a price, how is not providing the best solution for them?

    • Johndods1

      I don’t think he is saying that you shouldn’t deliver a price, but rather the medium in which the information is delivered.  Follow up with a call or set up a meeting or do anything to engage them in a personal way.  Rarely will they hang up on you after giving a price, but with an email, they have a way not to respond, by not responding!

    • http://www.thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, Glen. I appreciate your perspective, although I disagree. Professional salespeople aren’t completely powerless in our relationships with our clients and prospective clients, nor do our clients want us to be. Of course, we serve our clients, but that often means we have to help them with a buying process that gets them the results that they need. It doesn’t mean that we should be expected to be subservient, and that would unhealthy for both parties. 

      The comments here aren’t the appropriate place to point all of the ways that Internet Marketing 2.0 is the ultimate in old school tactics. Instead, I’ll just point you to Cialdini’s great work “Influence,” and if you are interested you can take a deep dive into reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, social proof, and liking. (I take no responsibility for your radically changed view of the world for having recommended the book). 

      I am not suggesting that you not provide pricing. I am suggesting you don’t do it by email without some chance to demonstrate the value you are creating and a chance to explain and discuss your pricing. 

      Anthony

  • Johndods1

    This is a great post because like you mention there is no way to advance the sale.  The only success that you might gain from this is if you have the lowest price and even then it isn’t guaranteed because someone else could have value sold at a higher price.  If they’re shocked at the price, you can’t read their face to ask questions why they’re shocked.  If they’re confused at how low it is compared to other pricing they’ve seen, you can’t read their face and maybe you just under-bid yourself not understanding what it is they’re asking to price.

    If a client asks for a price in an email, they’ll never forget that number, they read it, possibly say it aloud and most likely read it again.  That’s three times they’ve thought about it and when they associate you, they associate the hard price, regardless if you were to have negotiations after.

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  • http://www.usbdriverecovery.com repair usb drives

    Really; this is both positive and negative consequences that
    emailing price may avoid any chance of mistakes but it also eliminates chance
    of direct communication and interaction.

  • http://www.socialmediasean.com Social Media Sean

    Yo Anthony, 

    Before I came to social/digital I would of had a heart attack if I or any of my team emailed pricing to a client before first properly going over it. When I came into this awesome new industry and technology I saw this as common practice. I was and am still totally shocked by this. 

    Emailing Pricing
    Advantage: You don’t have to learn the skills necessary to do a proper sales presentation.

    Disadvantage: You will close far less sales, and make less money.

    Sure there are always objections to the rule. I have emailed pricing and have done well, but that was only as a last resort. Some of the sales ended up closing but I was in way less control and by *control* I mean “helping to lead a process” which did not serve me or my client.

    There are so many variables depending on the industry, relationship to the client and so on, BUT at the end of the day you will close more sales if you have a proper sales presentation where you present and the discuss pricing.

    Awesome post, so much value in here. Great reminders and some new ideas to help me encourage others to practise this in social/digital as well.

  • http://twitter.com/MZazeela Marc Zazeela

    Anthony,

    I agree 100%.  Whenever possible, I try to deliver my pricing in person.  Of course, certain factors like geography, time, etc., make that difficult but the results are almost always better (for me) when I am with the prospect discussing the pricing together.

    Thanks for the great ideas.

    Marc

  • Ricardo Freitas

    Congrats! great article!
    I totally agree with you. When it comes to a point that you just email the price, that means that you were never in control of the negotiation (reason why you think an email should be ok) and that means that lead will never become your client. If he decides to accept it, it was pure luck!

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