October 7, 2019

Dropping dollars

Sent by Jonathan Stark on October 8th, 2019

It’s been said that the first person to mention a price in a negotiation loses. 

Maybe that’s true, but don’t confuse mentioning price with mentioning dollars. They might seem similar on the surface but they’re not the same thing. 

For example, in a sales interview I’ll often casually mention high dollar amounts in an effort to filter out low-value projects, ala…

”Why pay me a million bucks when you could just hire a full time employee to figure it out for you?“


”A ballpark? Sure... somewhere between five thousand and five million! (laughs) It really  depends on what you need, so let’s get back to talking about that...“


I definitely would NOT begin a sales interview by talking about specific prices - and certainly not with hourly or other types of “standard rates” - but I think it’s completely fine to be dropping dollar amounts throughout the conversation.

(NOTE: A helpful side-effect of mentioning big numbers in the sales interview is that these dollar amounts can begin to set a high price anchor for the prices I present in my proposal. I would also explicitly anchor high in the proposal using the perceived value of my contribution to the project, but that’s a story for another day.)