by Tony Vidler
If there is one objection which continually gets professionals in a tangle it is the client who says “it’s too expensive”. When a client says “too expensive” YOU you haven’t done your job…there is a gap between the value being delivered and value being perceived by the client. A value gap is deadly when it comes to getting clients onboard, and when it comes to building a successful professional advice business.
Whether it is your fee for a particular project, and ongoing service cost or the price of a product solution the same words come out from too many clients too often….”it’s too expensive”. What the client is really saying is “that’s not worth it” – and that is why I say “the adviser hasn’t done their job”. Of course it is worth it, otherwise the professional wouldn’t have recommended the client spend the money, right?
Price is simply cost – not a reflection of value.
When a client says the cost is not worth it then clearly they do not understand the value they are receiving. If the client doesn’t fully understand the value being created then of course any cost is probably too much – no price is a good price.
This is a perceived value gap. The underlying question should be “this is too expensive compared to what?“
However, using clever techniques and glib lines to “handle objections” rarely work in building or maintaining long term client relationships based upon trust, loyalty and high value advice. They will work for people who are in transactional businesses where a client purchases a thing and then moves on to the next transaction, but they do not really work when it comes to selling the intangible.
In order for clients or prospects to understand the value in intangible services we have to make it apparent. We have to explain it…we cannot leave it open to interpretation or simply hope that the client will figure it out. If there is one consistent trend across the professional services world it is this:
Regulators, politicians, consumers and their advocates, professional associations are all consistent in pushing this message…and if we are honest with ourselves they are all pushing this message because overall we have not been good at articulating the value being created. WE know we are delivering value, but nobody else is quite as sure. That’s our fault; not theirs.
In an advice-based business the only thing that a client is saying when they express concern about price is that they do not yet understand the value. When that occurs it is a sure sign that we have to lift our game. We have to identify the value being created for a client. We have to tell them what that value is. We have to help them understand that the price of the product or service is worthwhile to them.
It really is this simple: if clients and prospects think our products or services are too expensive, then we still have work to do.