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Advisor ethics: Dating, emotions and the truth about price objection

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How often have you tried to convince a price-objecting client that actually, the value of the product or solution is quite high? I don’t know about you, but in my experience, it has rarely worked.

The reason is both price and value are economic issues, but price objections are usually emotional.

Why price is like dating

Guys, remember asking out the prettiest girl in school for Friday night? If she said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m busy Friday night,” did you get the hint?

The truth was she didn’t feel like going out with you. And you probably got the hint. You knew if she wanted to go out with you, she’d have said, “I’d love to — I’ve got a previous commitment for Friday, but could we make it next Tuesday or Thursday?”

Price works the same way. If your client says, “Oh, I’d like to, but that’s really just too expensive for me,” they really mean they don’t feel like buying that insurance from you. If you try to argue value, it’s like trying to convince the “I’m busy Friday” girl to reconsider for Saturday — it’s just not going to happen.

Respond to emotional objections with emotion

Instead, meet emotional objections with emotional responses. Your client just told you they’re not interested in dealing with you, at least not on this subject. That’s not a price problem; that’s a relationship problem. And that’s a big deal. You need to quickly show you respect their objection.

First, stop pushing the sale. Don’t argue value; don’t argue at all. Respect their wishes and drop the subject. You need to earn back the right to offer advice. You do that by empathetically listening to the client. You might try something like this:

“Too expensive? Oh, OK. Sounds like maybe this might not be the right thing for you. I might have misunderstood your situation. Sorry about that. Would you mind backing up and going over again with me how you see your needs in this area?”

Your objective here isn’t to see what you missed the first time; it’s to make sure this time, the client feels heard. They may or may not change their mind, but the point is for you to leave them feeling you care about them and their needs, and you’re committed to helping them, rather than selling to them.

If you can do that, you’ve done a lot. The client will let you know if and when they’re willing to re-engage. If they do, they’ll suggest the equivalent of “how about next Tuesday or Thursday?” and you’ll know the difference.

Charles H. Green is founder and CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates. The author of “Trust-Based Selling” and co-author of “The Trusted Advisor,” he has spoken to, consulted for or done seminars about trusted relationships in business. For more information, go to


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