Do you make these common mistakes when faced with the statement “You are too expensive”?

So you are gently and smoothly guiding that potential buyer towards the sale; you have answered all her questions about guarantees and warranties and have convincingly worked through her fears around “what if this doesn't work like you say it does”

All is going great, you are dreaming of building a life-long relationship with this person and perhaps already planning retreats where she is the client of the year.
And then…

You quote the price
She hears the price
She sucks in her breath and says:

“This is just too expensive”

As your dreams come crashing down like fine crockery does in my house when I am doing the dishes, you may be tempted to make some of the common mistakes people in similar situations make. Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one.
Here’s the thing…entrepreneurs believe in their product or service so fully that they can sell it with complete conviction, up until the point where the potential buyer questions the price. Why? They are unprepared and because they are unprepared, they often end up making some of these most common and DEADLY mistakes:

Mistake no. 1- Letting Them Go

New age wisdom tells you to just let them go because it is not meant to be…well new age wisdom lies. It lies because it discounts the effect that good reasoning can have on any relationship, and sale in effect is a relationship. If we put in extra effort to save our personal relationships, why don’t we do the same for a potential sale? Giving up just because the buyer thinks your product is too expensive is the worst mistake you can make, not just for this sale but for many more if you fall into the habit.

Mistake no. 2- Referring them to someone else

Again mucho new age and oh-such-bad-advice. Why? Because if you generated the lead, and created interest in your product, you have already done 80% of the work. Taking a lead that is primed to buy and referring it to someone else means you are not just losing that one sale but many more sales that may come from the same person or through referrals from her.

Mistake no. 3- Trying to get them to see the light AKA being defensive

Don’t do this…you will come across as needy and desperate. You will never get them to see your point of view and they would only look at you as a slimy, wheedling sales person trying to secure a sale. Don’t… just don’t.

Mistake no. 4- Getting angry

Did you feel your temper rising as soon as the words were out of her mouth? Did you want to kick yourself (or her) for having wasted all the time and energy to come to this? THIS!
Well, stop right there. Understand that, everyone has the right to get the most value for their money, no one likes to be short-changed and if they genuinely think you are too expensive, well, it’s your job to understand why they think so.

What to do when you hear the words:

Ask them this one single question:

“Really! Expensive, compared to what?”

That’s it. Just ask them this one question and see the dynamics of the whole argument shift in your favor.
I have seen this one sentence close million dollar deals and win over multi-year long contracts.
Because answering this question means the potential buyer has to give a justification for her statement. If you are at a stage where you are negotiating on price, you have likely overcome all other sales barriers and there could now only be four possible mental barriers stopping the sale from taking place:

1. She is trying to justify the purchase to herself
2. She doesn’t know how much the product or service costs. She may be a first time user and genuinely doesn’t know the cost
3. She’s comparing you to someone cheaper
4. She isn’t interested in buying at this time and is using “too expensive” as a way to buy time

From the answer she gives to your question, you can judge where she falls on the spectrum and then overcome the barriers by following the strategies below:

Self-Justification for the Purchase:
When her answer hints that she is trying to justify the sale to herself, don’t stop her. Let her go on and once she is half way through, all you have to do is remind her why she reached out to you in the first place. In other words, emphasize the pain point, but only after she has partly done the self- justification part on her own.

Doesn’t know the cost:
Recount the emotional benefits of your product and the pain it alleviates. Also use a reference point they can relate to… for example a 400 dollar yearly membership can be reframed as costing less than their daily espresso at Starbucks. Compare it to something similar that they are in the habit of paying for so they see it in context.

Comparing You to someone Cheaper:
Know your point of parity and use this as an opportunity to emphasize why you are different and better. Let them come right out and say “XYZ sells it for 20 dollars” because this is a wonderful opportunity to remind her why XYZ would not be able to solve her problem and alleviate her pain. BUT if there really is no point of parity between you and XYZ, you probably really need to re-think your pricing and/ or your product.
Not Ready to Buy:
If her answer points to the fact that she isn’t ready to buy at this time, you can remind her of a genuine buy-now-not-later discount that you can only offer within a certain time frame. This is also a great time to press some instant gratification buttons that our brains absolutely LOVE.

For example, if you are selling a weight loss system something likes “Just want you to know that most of our clients lose about 10 pounds/ month so come April, you may be a different person”. Basically, any cue that spurs immediate action would do the trick here.

That’s it.

This one sentence will shift the sale from a seller-trying-to-convince-buyer to buyer-trying-to-convince-herself situation.

Even if she doesn’t end up buying at this time (which is unlikely if you use the above smartly), she will come back to you whenever she is ready to make the purchase because she has subconsciously convinced herself that you are the right business to buy from.
Who says selling and negotiating is hard?

How to respond when a client says "You're too expensive!" #clients #coachingtbiz #onlinebiz #businesstips #biztips #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurtipsHow to respond when a client says "You're too expensive!"


  1. Lily on April 4, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Bushra, I agree. If a client has taken the time to read through your web copy and set up a complimentary consult, they have pre-screened themselves for your services. Often price is a non-issue, but just a temporary excuse they give if they don’t see the full value yet. You gave great tips to work through that if it comes up.

    • bushra.a on April 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      Oh Lily you have hit the nail on the head! It is a temporary excuse most of the time.

      Thanks so much for dropping by!

  2. Lacy on April 5, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Great tips! I find these conversations to be one of the hardest things I do in my business! I have a VIP, luxury service, and it IS expensive for some people. But I’ve found that most of my clients aspire to play bigger, so when I remind them “The president doesn’t write his own speeches; actors don’t write their own scripts…” it reminds them that they’re investing in that desire to show up bigger in their niche.

    • bushra.a on April 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Thanks Lacy. I am so glad you stopped by and I love the insight 🙂

  3. Beth K .Bedbury on April 7, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    I am so pinning this post. So much great information on how to work through the Too expensive question with a potential client.

    • bushra.a on April 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      YOU Beth are a sweetheart 🙂

  4. Kimber lee on October 15, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I loved this post!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Lisa on December 2, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Oh Bushra, you are SO good! This article came up as a related post, and when I clicked it, I was super curious for what you would suggest – this is genius. And again, I can hear your voice… ‘compared to what?’
    Love it!

  6. Elise Nicholes on January 17, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Great question. I found this on a photography website but I sell million dollar homes so works for me there as well.

  7. […] question will help you understand what their objections are to your price and Bushra from the Persuasive Revolution and HubSpot has great advice to help you navigate the […]

  8. Nagina on December 10, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I’m going to be referring to this post at my next sales call. So many women cannot justify paying for someone to help them lose weight – to themselves. That is the most common barrier I have found.

    I love the question “expensive compared to what?” I’m going to incorporate “do the math” to this discussion so it looks like a cost no-brainer

    • bushra.a on December 11, 2015 at 8:59 am

      Love “do the math”…that’s the consultant in you talking LOL

  9. Isis on April 7, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    This post is wonderful!

    I read it right before a client consult, and for the first time ever closed the sale without the client raising a single objection.


  10. Thuy on April 8, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Great tip! Thanks❤️

  11. Alexia on April 8, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    I would argue that your solution works because if we defend our work (which is the “logical” thing to do), the implicit message (i.e. that underlying one) is often that we are not confident in our pricing or the value we are delivering.

    When you ask ‘Compared to what’ – the underlying message we are sending is that of upmost confidence in our value and hence this drives the sale (or the person gives up but faster which saves time).

    And in the case of self justification – suggesting like you do – to wait (i.e. stay quiet) while the person runs their internal dialogue further drives this implicit message of confidence and this is why the client can decide yes. Because she is contained in this confidence.

    Thanks Bushra for this.

  12. Mary Richardson on April 9, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    What a wonderful article. Someone posted it on Fb when someone was second guessing a non-purchaser.
    This was just terrific. I am also going to remember your – Compared To What
    Thanks sew much

  13. Traci on April 9, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    A pleasure to read and solid advice as always. Question for you? Do men seem to struggle with their pricing as much as women? Sometimes I feel like we have been taught to be giving and that makes it hard to ask for the sale. I see a lot more of these type of conversations geared to women and it made me wonder. 🙂

  14. Archana on April 9, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    This really is a brilliant post! I’ve let go of so many clients because of the price point. Love the line, and the casual, non-defensive tone of it.
    Thank you!

  15. Madalyn on January 30, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    What if they genuienly can’t afford to purchase? I feel like this reason is different from the four you listed, but closest to #1.

  16. Keneena on February 4, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Wow, I love this! So true that I’ve just been unprepared for this question!

  17. Maayan on February 16, 2017 at 2:12 am

    Wow, wow, wow.
    The single best advice I have ever heard to this common ailment.
    Thank you for sharing!

  18. Sander on February 16, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Great post! I’m gonna use this one 🙂

  19. Holly C. on August 23, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Really love this advice. I get a lot of this in my home daycare business. Peeople say they pay $20/day for 9-10 hours of care and then say that my pricing ($37/day) is expensive. I’m not a flake and show up when I say I will. I treat this like the business it is and my clients know they can rely on me. That reliability costs more than an illegal provider with no standards, training, etc.

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