How Sellers Can Successfully Justify Price Increases

BY Jessica Helinski
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Costs are on the rise for many goods and services, and sellers, too, are asking for price increases from clients. 

It may have been years since you’ve raised prices, but it’s time to take a hard look at the numbers,” writes Patty Gaddis for Integrity Solutions. “When costs eat into revenues and there’s no long-​term expectation of things reverting back, it’s time to have that discussion about raising prices with customers.”

While these conversations aren’t easy, they are often necessary. And they can be successful so that each party walks away satisfied. 

How to Justify Price Increases

Because cost is a highly sensitive topic, sellers need to prepare for these tough conversations with clients. Keep in mind that they are likely facing rising costs in every direction. The key is to approach these discussions with empathy and thoughtful preparation. 

And remember, the relationships you’ve built are the foundation of your current business. Continue playing the vital role of trusted partner to ease everyone through these adjustments. 

Just like when you closed the deal, value must be your focus. Emphasizing value will help justify what you’re asking. 

The focus of the discussion should be on the value proposition, not all the things that have caused the price increase,” Gaddis explains. 

It can be tempting to rehash the financial reasons your company is asking for higher prices. But don’t get caught up in telling your story; keep the focus on the client. But, as Megan O’Brien points out for NetSuite, you will need to adjust how you present value. 

The key issue is framing, and often re-​framing, your value proposition in the context of the price increase,” she writes. “For some businesses, this means simply reminding customers about the value. For others, it may mean doing something else with your product or service.”

Revisit your value proposition and think of how it can be reframed in light of the client’s current business goals. Explain how a higher cost will enable you to continue delivering what they need. 

Check Your Own Mindset

Before approaching a client about price increases, you must be totally on board and in agreement with what you’re proposing.

If you are going to sell a price increase you need to believe in that price increase,” explains  Meridith Elliott Powell in an article for LinkedIn. “If you are confident in what you are selling, and what you are selling it for, so will they.”

Make sure that you have thorough knowledge of how your solution has met the client’s needs. Know how the solution is positioned to keep doing so. Take time to gather the information needed to not only demonstrate the justifications to clients, but also yourself. 

Have confidence that you maintain the value of what you offer. The more confidence you have, the easier it will be to sell the idea to clients. 

Be Prepared for Objections

Price increases will likely be met with objections. Prepare yourself by brainstorming possible objections and the best responses you can give. You should also consider role-​playing with a team member or mentor to fine-​tune your delivery and get feedback.

For guidance on objection handling, take a look at these tips. This suggestion includes a four-​step process for successfully facing and resolving objections. 

Keep Your Cool

Money is an emotional topic. Likely, your request for higher prices could trigger strong responses from clients. It’s important that you maintain a professional, calm demeanor even if the client is struggling. 

SalesFuel shares some advice on navigating tough conversations and how to keep a handle on emotions. And this is another way that role-​playing can be beneficial. Ask the other person to play the role of an upset client. Role-​playing can help you improve your emotional intelligence and responses. 

Price increases are an inevitable part of the seller experience. Even if there aren’t higher costs on the horizon, start to prepare your approach now. So that when higher costs happen, you’re prepared to seize the opportunity to highlight value and further strengthen the relationship.

Photo by Jack Sparrow