Price First or Price Last – Train Yourself on Negotiation Skills and Master the Art of Selling

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Suppose you are in a sales negotiation meeting aiming to sell a product. Should you state the price first and carry on justifying it or should you explain the product and then present its price. This article attempts to answer this question as well as providing tips on how to manage the discussion.

Presenting Price Early

Let’s consider the options in more detail. Suppose you present the price early in the negotiations. With this option several things happen:

  • The focus of the conversation shifts away from the product and to the price. This can distract the person from paying attention to your product.
  • Since the product or service has not been fully discussed, the customer is forced to assume what the product does and evaluate the price based on previous experience with other suppliers that provide similar products. If the customer’s previous experience with other suppliers is negative, it can significantly make it more difficult for you to proceed and may put you on the defensive unnecessarily.
  • The price would act as an anchor in negations and all the subsequent discussions start from there. This could work for you or against you.

Price Anchoring

Let’s see what happens when you set your price in a negotiation. Studies show that the first price works as anchor. This means that all subsequent prices are influenced based on this initial price. Hence, you must think very hard on what this price is and of course what it represents.

If your price anchor is too high it could work against you as it can put the customer off. In addition, the customer may feel appalled by your high pricing or may lose confidence in you and your product thinking that he might be walking into a trap.

If your price anchor is low, you will forever lose the opportunity to set the right price based on the features of your product.

Presenting Price at the End

In other words, if you present your price too early, you risk losing the opportunity to describe your product, walk through its features and explain how different it is from the competition. This is usually a crucial part of any negotiation which is why it is better if you first present your products and only at the end when the customer has fully understood what your product does for them, proceed with pricing options and variations.


Other than the timing of presenting the price you should also consider how to present the details of your product. The following 4 memorable techniques can help you to cover various aspects of your product from different angles:

  • Addition. Present more and more details to increase the value of your products. Remember, the features must be presented in a way that make sense to “your customer”, so avoid giving abstract fact about features and instead focus on describing “values” to the customer. For example, “This product comes with 5 year support so you can rest assured that we are here to help you should anything go wrong after the product is installed in your premises.”
  • Subtraction. Explain to the customer what he will not get by not buying your product. “If you don’t obtain our backup software solution, you might risk losing all your company data and I can imagine this could be quite costly to you. Some organisations never recover from this, so this is why our backup solution is designed to work easily with many different computer systems such as those you have and help you to restore them in case something goes wrong.”
  • Multiplication. Explain how your product in conjunction with other products can be even more valuable to the customer. Explain other auxiliary values in addition to the core values. For example, “The TV comes with a standard USB port as well so you can connect it to a variety or USB devices or external storage, view you’re your photos from your camera or watch movies from your external hard drive. We even had a customer who used a Bluetooth USB stick to wirelessly get content from other Bluetooth devices and show them on the TV.”
  • Division. Break down the price over years of use or provide payment options to make it appear less expensive. This technique is particularly common with expensive items such as houses, cars or industrial equipment or competitive markets such as selling mobile phones. For example, “The price is £19 per month for 6 months and then £38 per month thereafter for our 18 months contract.” This sounds much cheaper than saying it will cost you £570.

A great way to gain experience in sales negotiations is to practice them in a controlled environment. This is provided in negotiation skills training courses that contain numerous exercises so you can practice the skills immediately after you have been briefed. Trainers can also take advantage of negotiation skills training materials and sales skills training materials to setup training courses for staff who are sent to sales negotiations. This can be an affordable and cost effective way for negotiation training. 

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Chelsea Elm has 11 articles online

Provides training manuals and writing training materials, train the trainer and training and development on Questioning Skills, Anger Management, Sales Skills and Stress Management. For details see Negotiation Skills Training Materials. Also see train the trainer powerpoint and corporate training programs, corporate management training programs, training manuals, free team building games, writing training materials, soft skill training and list of soft skills and corporate training companies.

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Price First or Price Last – Train Yourself on Negotiation Skills and Master the Art of Selling

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This article was published on 2011/11/01