This article was previously published at Small Business Trends and is being republished with permission.

When I heard Marcus Sheridan speak at BlogWorld, one thing that stood out was his statement, “Businesses are afraid to talk about pricing.” I realized he was completely right.

afraid to talk

Think about the last time you went to a website for a product or service that you couldn’t buy outright online. Did it list prices? Or did the site encourage you to call for more information? How many times do you walk away from a purchase simply because you couldn’t get enough information on pricing to make an informed decision? I know that’s been the case for me in many instances.

Why We Don’t List Prices

I think we’re afraid to talk about pricing on our websites because we want to convince potential customers of the value our products provide. Simply giving a number doesn’t express how awesome our widgets and doohickeys are. But we, our companies’ salespeople, can expound upon the benefits our products provide! They’re magical and worth every penny!

But the truth is: Price does matter. No matter how magical your unicorn clone machine is, if it’s out of my budget, there’s nothing you can do about that.

Writing From Inspiration

I decided to write this post after I had an experience that hit home on this topic. I was looking into gyms in my area. I found one website, but it didn’t list prices, so I called.  My husband groaned in the background:

“Don’t call!”

I found out why.  I was put through to the sales guy. I asked how much a family membership was.  His response?

“Let me get your name!”

Instantly, I was put off. I explained I simply wanted to get pricing, not sign up for anything. We proceeded to get into an argument; he said I was reducing his product to a price. He wanted to talk about value. I told him I was familiar with his brand, and I just wanted information on pricing to help me make a decision. I got frustrated and got off the phone.

Guess what gym I didn‘t sign up with?

Bingo. There it is. As business owners, we hate the idea of customers reducing our product to a price. But they do. If I hadn’t considered that gym of the quality I was looking for, with the services I needed, I wouldn’t have called. If all things are equal, price is the one factor that will help us make our decision most of the time. Am I right? But the fact that the salesperson made getting this information a headache turned me off, and I walked away.

In Sheridan’s presentation, he quizzed several members of the audience on whether or not they listed pricing on their sites. One man in software development, when asked why he didn’t list pricing, said:

“Because it depends.”

And that’s the case for a lot of us. It depends on what the client wants; how big he is; how many he wants. But Sheridan shot that down and said that’s the case for everyone in the room, and it simply isn’t an excuse.

I get it now. I just listed prices (at least, starting prices) on my site as a result of this lesson learned. My goal is to at least weed out the people who can’t afford what my company offers, and to create a starting point for the pricing conversation. We’ll see if it draws more clients or makes it easier for potential clients to make a decision.

Leap of the Week – I have a challenge for you:

If you don’t list prices on your site currently, change that. Even if “it depends,” list prices “starting at” and see what happens. Direct potential clients to your site so they can understand what to expect with regards to costs. Let’s get out of the habit of pushing customers away by closely guarding pricing as a big secret! Are you with me?