Action Selling client Dr. Mark Page, an optometrist with Phoenix eye clinic Arizona’s Vision, recently asked for some sales coaching help. Here is his question:

“I have patients calling all the time who ask, ‘How much do you charge for an eye exam?’ My staff`s typical answer is, ‘Do you have any insurance?’ What would be a better way to answer that?”

Here is the type of response I suggested to Dr. Page:

“Thank you for calling us. Where you choose to get an eye exam is one of the most important healthcare decisions a person can make. A wide range of technology is available today for assessing potential problems with your eyes.”

“The investment our patients make in having their vision assessed ranges from zero to XXX dollars, depending on what insurance coverage they have and what their needs include. We accept patients with Medicare and most insurance plans, as well as patients who don’t have eye-care coverage.”

“We’d love to take care of you. Would you like to go ahead and schedule an appointment?

“Try this approach and adjust the dialogue if you need to,” I recommended to Dr. Page. “It should bring in more people who need your service. Thanks for asking a great question.”

Cost is not the first question

Price is never the first topic you want to discuss in a sales conversation. It usually should not be the customer’s first concern either, especially if the product isn’t a pure commodity. Can you imagine someone asking; “How good a deal can you give me on some brain surgery?”

Yet when you contact prospects—or when they contact you—their first question is likely to be, “How much do you charge for (fill-in-the-blank)?” Can sales training programs and sales coaching help you steer the initial discussion away from price without making customers suspicious or defensive? Sure, but only if you find the right sales training course that teaches the most effective sales skills.

Selling a service such as an eye exam is a great example of a situation where you are not doing the customer any favors by accepting price as the first and decisive question. If you get bogged down with cost issues early in the conversation, before you can explain any value in your product or service, you’ve fallen into the price trap. You won’t be able to use your sales skills to paint the picture that illustrates why your higher quality product/service is worth more than that of others who might charge less.

What might a great sales training program advise you to tell the caller who wants a dollar figure up front? It might tell you to be ready to give such people a short but clear reason why the quality of service in your field varies and a price range that could account for other variables. Then it should remind you to ask for an appointment.

That’s why my sales coaching advice to Dr. Page was very similar to the advice I would give to you, regardless of the products or services you sell.

For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.

Duane Sparks

About Duane Sparks

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling.  He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations.  Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).