The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Good Judgment…

Selling is (or should be) a skill-based game, true?  Recently, I constructively criticized some of my sales brethren for their lack of follow-up on trade show leads; and worse, for being judgmental toward their prospects.  They insulted the decision-maker by thinking she wasn’t the true decision-maker.  (It’s hard to close a deal when you insult the prospect, don’t you think?) 

Sooth Sayers say there are many pitfalls in the sales profession.  Here’s another one:  the “Money Flinch”.  Sales professionals usually learn how to handle questions about money the hard way.  Addressing an early, “How much?” from the prospect requires good judgment; and it has been said that: 

Good judgment comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgment.

                                                                  Unknown Sage 

Inexperienced sales people often use bad judgment when dealing with the money question.  They flinch, and (to use horse-speak) accidentally “spook” their prospect.  Here’s how it happens:

  • Early in the very first conversation the prospect asks, “How much does something like this cost?”  (Prospects always seem to ask this question early.)
  • The inexperienced sales rep flinches and says, “Oh, I will need to do a thorough analysis before I could give you a quote.”
  • And – Boom!  Just like that, the prospect is spooked! 

It’s a classic, non-answer answer.  The prospect probably didn’t expect a firm quote; a ballpark figure would likely have sufficed.  Yes, they may ask add-on questions to clarify how the money works, but they’re still just looking for an estimate.  However, the non-answer answer can have unwanted consequences.  It seems evasive, even irritating, and can imply:

  • That this thing must really be expensive (maybe too expensive) if an “analysis” is needed before I can get a ballpark figure.
  • That this thing must be complicated (maybe too complicated) if a “thorough analysis” is required.
  • That this sales rep must be an idiot if he can’t answer a simple, direct question with a direct answer! 

How do we in the profession deal with this?    Well, I like to bring to mind the experience each of us already has (the same experience that can lead to good judgment, if we’ll let it.)  You see, everyone has been in this situation before – as the prospect – remember?  We’ve all looked at something we’re interested in and asked, “How much does something like this cost?”  Remember your irritation when you got a non-answer answer? 

When we’re on the selling side and the money question surfaces, we can leverage this experience; display good judgment; and Viola – be sales professionals!  Here’s how: 

  • First, don’t flinch
  • Second, try something like this;
    • “Well, our typical client invests between $xx and $yy
    • Their average return is $zz.
    • And they also enjoy the benefits of A, B, and C.
    • Of course, to provide you an exact figure we should invest some time to understand your needs.” 
  • And finally close with;
    • “Is that what you had in mind?” 

It’s not foolproof, but it is simple, direct and professional.  I don’t worry about trying to get to foolproof: 

It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

                                                                 Unknown Sage 

So when faced with the “money question”; don’t flinch.  Look them right in the eye and offer a number based on your “typical client”.  Add in the return-on-investment and benefits your clients enjoy; and then see if that’s what they had in mind.  

Anyway, that’s how I do it – how about you? 


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.  Subscribe.



  1. Happy
    Sep 13, 2011

    You keep it up now, unedrsatnd? Really good to know.

    • Gary
      Sep 14, 2011

      Hello Happy – Thank you for taking time to read and reply. Hope to continue to hear from you. Thx, GAP

  2. Janaya
    Sep 14, 2011

    And I was just wdonreing about that too!

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