Jon E Horton - 22 laws of selling

Jon E. Horton has worked in sales, marketing and consulting for more than four decades. Through his extensive experience in the field of telecommunications he has been able to apply his sales expertise to form strong partnerships with executives from a wide variety of industries. He has distilled his years of work in the rules and vignettes found in The 22 Unbreakable Laws of Selling.

The Price Is Right

Author: Jon Horton | Category: Basic Laws of Selling

I got a call last week from one of my favorite clients, asking for my help following an all too familiar conversation with a prospective customer. My client reviewed the dialogue in detail including his prospect’s repeated questions about price. “Should I offer the customer a big discount,” he asked me?

I’ll confess that my initial instinct was to treat this challenge as a negotiating issue – I wanted to remind my client that he should “always go in high”. Fortunately, I resisted that temptation and told him instead, “No, the price is right.”

Here’s the simple truth about customers who relentlessly question their account executives about money. Most of the time, price really isn’t the issue.

Salespeople typically struggle with this lesson because it is so counterintuitive. If prospects keep asking about price, then surely price is their most important buying criteria. That logic is seductive but usually misguided.

Here’s the body blow to sellers who spend their careers fighting price with price. Most customers only focus on price when they don’t perceive any other significant differences between their purchase choices.

Think about it this way. A new car buyer wouldn’t expect a Mercedes salesperson to beat the price of the Ford salesperson down the street – the difference in perceived value is readily understood. Conversely, the same car buyer would quite naturally challenge two Chevrolet dealerships on opposite sides of town to win the sale with the lowest price.

So, what are you selling?

If the dialogue with your clients has been reduced to a question of price, then you are selling exactly the same thing as your competition. Don’t take my word for it – ask your customers. I guarantee that is their perception. Therefore, the only way you’ll get the business is to sell it cheaper.

Seasoned salespeople avoid the need to be “cheap” by laying down a solid foundation built on unique characteristics. By painstakingly assessing the needs of prospective clients, they are able to creatively position their products and services as critical solutions. They understand that it’s not their mission to save clients money – their job is to help customers grow their business. These sellers will deflect any questions about price until they have firmly established differentiated value with their customers.

Rising to the top of their class, a very limited number of salespeople take this approach a step further. Contrary to the teachings of many sales trainers, they never ask for a prospect’s budget. Rather, they present each customer with a winning solution which defines the budget required to successfully execute the plan.

Fortunately for me, my client is a member of this exclusive club. So, he understood perfectly when I said, “The price is right. It’s the conversation that’s wrong.”

Oh, and one more thing. Always go in high!

Jon E. Horton is the author of The 22 Unbreakable Laws of Selling available in both paperback and Kindle versions from For more of his blogs, please visit www.JonEHorton…com. Comments to

Last updated: Nov 4, 2013