Handling price objections : “Peeling the onion”

This technique presumes that the objections from the customer aren’t sincere.

With this technique, you presume that there is some other reason for the price objection. Or the other way round – some other reason underlies the concern over price.

When you peel the onion, you ask: “Is there anything else keeping us from going forward on this?”

You ask until the customer finally says, “No.”

If they say “no,” then you have heard all of the objections and that final one is the actual reason.


Customer: “I’d like to participate in the seminar, but I have an important meeting that day.”

You: “No problem at all. But may I ask what else besides that might be keeping you from participating?”

Customer: “Well, we have a slightly tough time with funds right now.”

You: “I understand. Now that’s a problem for many companies in today’s economy. Are there any other reasons for not taking part?”

Customer: “No.”

You: “Great. We have a financing plan available. Would that help you?”

Customer: “Certainly.”
You: “Would you be able to reschedule your meeting in that case?”
Customer: “Yes, it might be possible.”
Now let’s look at the opposite situation, where a customer tells you your price is too high.

You: “Besides price, is there any other concern?”
Customer: “Well, I’m not really sure it’s really worth buying for us.”
You: “What else might be troubling you?”

Customer: “I’m thinking I could get it cheaper elsewhere.”
You: “All right. What else is in the way of completing this purchase?”
Customer: “Well, nothing else really.”
If you’d started dropping the price or actively justifying it, you would have simply spent your energy and you wouldn’t have closed in any case. But now you know the price is not the main thing – they’re interested in the cost-benefit aspect and the fact that they could get it cheaper somewhere else. Now you can address these reasons and demonstrate to the customer that this particular purchase is indeed worth it, plus you hold a strong advantage over your competitors.

Use onion-peeling technique to find out whether price is the real reason behind the price objection. The customer’s concern might be whether they can get good enough aftercare or installation. But the way they express themselves is the old “it’s too expensive…” line. If you were to start defending the price or dropping the price, you wouldn’t close the deal one way or another. Determine whether there might be some other concern or reason for the price objection. I recommend that you assume by default that there’s something else troubling them besides price. Thinking this way will avoid a pointless back-and-forth about price and you can address customers’ true concerns.

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