How to Decrease The Negative Money Emotions of Prospects

How to Decrease The Negative Money Emotions of Prospects
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The Problem with Money Talk
Human beings have long been conflicted about money. When it comes to our relationships, it’s just something we’d rather not talk about much. But wouldn’t it help you in sales to know how to decrease the negative money emotions of prospects?

In complex solution sales, we have to think and talk about money. As a salesperson you propose a solution to a customer problem, for which the customer will pay you. When human beings — including your prospects and customers — think about money, understand that money can mess up your sales experiences simply because of a set of psychological phenomena that take place.

Psychological Phenomena that Can Affect Sales
There are a number of research studies of the psychological effects of the negative money emotions of prospects that can impact sales. Here are two from our microlearning experts that we use in our sales management training:

  • University of Minnesota
    In one experiment, researchers at the University of Minnesota recruited two groups of volunteers and primed one group to think about money. The priming took the form of playing Monopoly, staring at a money-themed screen-saver, and unscrambling phrases that contained terms like “high-paying” and “salary.” The other group was given no priming at all.

    Both groups were then asked to perform certain social tasks: conversing with a partner, collaborating on a puzzle, or helping a person who’d spilled something. Those in the group that had been primed to think about money seated themselves farther away from their conversation partners, were less likely to collaborate on the puzzle, and tended not to help clean up the spill.

    Thinking about money made them more antisocial, uncooperative, and self-centered than they’d otherwise be.
  • University of Hong Kong
    Another study, from university researchers in Hong Kong, found that thinking about money makes us more guarded. The researchers showed participants pictures in one of four categories: furniture, seashells, leaves, and money. Then they asked them to perform expressive tasks such as writing an online review or describing a funny scene from a movie.

    Those who had viewed the money-related pictures were less expressive. They tended to think it inappropriate when other people expressed themselves openly. And they were more likely to hide their own feelings.

Implications for Sales
These findings suggest that when buyers think about money, as they do in most sales scenarios, they become more egotistical and less open, more self-centered and guarded. Just the opposite of what would allow them to engage in the healthy collaboration that’s essential to a successful sale.

What You Can Do
Though you can’t prevent your prospect from feeling these negative human emotions when money is at issue, you can minimize the chances that these emotions will derail your sale. Here are three techniques that can help decrease the negative money emotions of prospects:

  1. Keep Pricing Talk Where It Belongs
    Talk of pricing should be low on the scale of importance in a consultative sale. Discussions of price in solution selling are low priority. Discussions of value are of high priority.  Believe it and act on it.
  2. Leave the Timing to Buyers
    Don’t let anxiety or unconscious feelings about price cause you to bring it up early in the sales process. Keep the focus on building a trusted business advisor relationship for as long as you can. Buyers will bring up price when they’re ready. Let them make the first move.
  3. Keep It Simple and Straightforward
    When the price discussion comes up, keep it as clean, streamlined, and emotion-free as possible. Additional research has shown that it’s best to state your price simply and dispassionately. Don’t explain, apologize for, or justify your price. Just state it once and stop talking.

The Bottom Line
Money is inevitably a topic that is part of any sale. High performing sales teams minimize the negative money emotions by understanding how to avoid the psychological effects that can hinder a successful outcome. Follow the tips above and put the pricing discussion where it belongs.

To learn more about how to help decrease the negative money emotions of prospects, download The 2 Most Common Sales Negotiation Tactics to Prepare For

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