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A good starter question to ask about pricing

One simple question to help reduce bias around pricing.

Matt Foley
Matt Foley
1 min read

If you're exploring pricing for a new product or service and want to ask about it in your customer discovery interviews, here is a question that I've found works surprisingly well to kick off the pricing conversation:

What do you think is a "fair and reasonable" price for this?

Why this question works well

If you just ask about price without the "fair and reasonable" part you may get some people that intentionally lowball you. This could be because they are interested in buying and think that by starting off with a low price they are entering a sales negotiation with the upper hand. Or it could just be because they're cheap!

On the other side of the spectrum you might have people give you a higher price than they would normally say is reasonable. Maybe they're trying to please the interviewer (social desibility bias). Maybe they want to make themselves feel like they have the money to afford anything. It's situational and hard to tell sometimes.

Regardless, adding the "fair and reasonable" part seems to mitigate both the "low ballers" and the "ballers" by making them think about a price that is reasonable relative to the market, their budget, etc. Note that you'll want to ask "why" to find out what is behind their recommended price...

Show me the proof

I have to be honest here and say I don't have hard data to back up this advice. I also can't remember who taught me this very early on in my career (otherwise I'd give credit where credit is due). I only have my direct experience having success asking this question over the last 20 years. It works for me, but YMMV.

In future posts I'll share additional questions I like to use to triangulate what your pricing could/should be in your customer interviews. If you aren't already, be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter (below) to receive that post...

Matt Foley

Customer discovery expert with 20+ years of helping everyone from entrepreneurs to enterprises talk to their customers and make smarter, customer-centric decisions.