Should You Show The Price At The Start Of A Presentation?

Almost every presentation or proposal that I've seen announces the price last. Conventional wisdom claims that presenting the price up front before presenting the benefits will automatically disqualify you because the shock of the price. However, if you spend 30 minutes discussing the benefits, your audience will be relieved at how low you price is.

I completely understand this argument when you're trying to win an emotional sale of the point of transaction. I'm curious whether you feel it is also a good strategy when selling a b2b solution for which the decision will be made in the future?


If you are presenting a true ROI with true value to the client's business, then the price is irrelevant and becomes a stumbling block at the beginning of the conversation - shutting down the dialog. You end up defending your price instead of building to it.

You must show yourself as a invaluable to their business and knowledgable about their specific issues - ideally drawing out issues they have not even verbalized yet.

You end up defending your price instead of building to it.

Not disagreeing actually, but to just to add that there is a danger that as you are 'building to it' it starts to become obvious that you are building to it. You start to sound a lot like the late night Ginsu guy with "How much would you pay for that? But wait, there's more!", which can be irritating to veteran pitch-ees.

But I agree there is no need to lead with price as long as:

1. You are confident they can afford it

2. You give them 'cues' to the what the number is, by the use of vague value propositions like, 'possibly for less than your spending right now, just on infrastructure.". This helps prepare them a range which, as long as #1 is correct, shouldn't scare them.

One other thing to consider when primarily pitching a known brand against other known brands, is that the end-user may know everything about the product and just really want the price.

Consider if I get the Sales Job at Avigilon that I've recently applied for, and I'm pitching against Sony. And they have already presented. Most of the people in the room may already know everything about both products except for the Avigilon price. In that case giving as many cues about what the ballpark price is can keep them from thinking 'Yeah, but how much?', throughout the whole presentation and missing some of the message...

Great Points - however if we take a step back, at what stage of the prospect's buying process is this presentation? Is it at the very end - a response to an RFP? Or is this a discussion during the very start of the buying process (not selling process) where the sales representative has been instrumental in dislodging the status quo, provided the prospect clarity into their own business issues, and is now providing the solution?

Would you not agree that this discussion ultimately depends on whether the presentation is a result of a sales rep workign as a hunter, a RFP respondant, or simply responding to leads?

Nothing beats solid preparation - knowing your prospect, knowing their business, and knowing your solutions.

The mistake in not discussing price up front:

Me: "I have some questions about the truck you have for sale."

Salesguy: "You mean the pickup? It has a super V8 engine and it literally tears holes in the pavement."

Me: "I just want to know the price, to see if I can afford it."

Salesguy: "You mean 'Can I NOT afford it, right?' We're talking over 8000 pounds of towing, fully vulcanised rubber tires, and dual exhausts! It's 'next gen' compared to the beater you're driving."

Me: "That's sounds great, but how much are we talking?"

Salesguy: "With this truck, you'll make small children cry, old ladies faint, and other truck owners green with envy when you roar past. Plus, it comes with a 25 year guaranteed undercoating. No rust ON THIS badbody... ever!"

Me: "...Price?"

Salesguy: "This thing can out accelerate, out pull, and flat-out smoke any Corvette. How does that sound? If you're not scared, that is..."

Point made beautifully - and funny as usual - client walked onto the car lot - end of the buying process... the sales rep wasn't going out proactively to the fleet manager of a major company to swing across the business.

Sometimes you can actually turn the lack of price visibility into an advantage. Typical situation: Middle Manager sets up presentation with you, the Vaporware Vendor, to present to Demanding Director. Middle Manager wants to know 'what we're talking about' before he wastes DD's time. You offer the stock 'it depends' but to no avail.

Eventually, under exaggerated duress, you tell him what the number is going to be before the presentation and swear him to silence. He can look good in front of the boss and you can make adjustments if necessary before the presentation. Now you have 'shared' a secret, and that's the way most strong relationships get going and keep going.

For a b2b solution that is future focused...as you put it...an ROI presentation is premature without having done enough homework to understand the potential client's budget.

Once you have a sense of budget, your price shouldn't shock anyone and should be secondary to your presentation demonstrating that you understand the business of the potential client and what issues are vital to them for their future needs. i.e. what "you" see as the benefits of your product may not be of relevance to the potential client if you have not taken the time to learn what makes them tick.

That said, bring it up at the end...after you demonstrate you can solve those issues that are important to them.

you should always answer the price question when asked with an approximate price range that way during the presentation you are able to gauge the customer ... where he is at with pricing

Price is always important as it is directly related to how much value you created for the customer during the presentation