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10 Tips to Successfully Sell a Pricing Initiative

Change is scary.

For many people, the thought that things are changing at the office immediately sparks fears that they are going to become less important, that their work is no longer valued, or even that they will lose their jobs.

And unfortunately, as pricing practitioners, we are often in the position of attempting to get the people that we work with to do things in a different way. If you want to navigate those changes successfully and get people to take your recommendations, you’re going to have to be very thoughtful about how you communicate the details of your projects to the other people in your company.

Here are ten tips that can help:

  1. Sooner is better to get ahead of speculation. As soon as you announce that you are working on a pricing initiative, people will start jumping to conclusions about what that means. And often those conclusions are completely wrong and detrimental to the initiative. If you provide details as soon as you have them, you can avoid needing to do damage control later on.
  2. Do the homework before jumping into tactics. Make sure you have a solid plan before you start worrying about what exactly you are going to say to whom. As always, strategy first—then tactics.
  3. Executives and influencers are often different. You definitely need to communicate early and often with the executive team, but management might not be the real thought leaders in the company. Identify the people that everyone else looks to for advice, and get them on board early.
  4. Don’t sidestep the naysayers. . . prioritize them. If you have a Debbie Downer on your team who always expects the worst to happen, you’ll be tempted to go around him or her. That’s a mistake. It’s far more effective to address likely critics head-on and handle their concerns in the early phases of your internal marketing.
  5. Avoid corporate speak and pricing esoterica. For any project that involves communication, it’s always best to use language that your audience understands. You might think that jargon will help you seem more knowledgeable, but it’s actually far more important to come across as authentic and relatable.
  6. Continually reinforce the big picture “why.” People are naturally resistant to change. And if they don’t understand the reason for the change, they’ll be downright stubborn. The more you can emphasize the reasons for the initiative and all the bad things that might happen if the initiative doesn’t go through, the better off you’ll be.
  7. Set expectations that there will be problems. If you tell people you have everything figured out, they probably won’t believe you, and you’ll set yourself up for criticism when something inevitably goes wrong. It’s much better to tell people that you are embarking on an iterative process and that things will improve with time even if you don’t have all the bugs worked out right away.
  8. Use case studies and real-world examples. Social proof is very powerful. If people have the idea that an initiative worked really well for someone else, they’ll be much more likely to believe that it will work for you as well.
  9. Always provide a way for people to save face. Never blame an individual (or group of individuals) for problems that the company is experiencing. Instead, blame the system or a lack of information. Explain that your initiative is designed to give everyone the information and support that they always wished they had.
  10. Do not underestimate the power of an FAQ. People are going to have concerns about your project—even if they don’t voice those concerns. A simple FAQ on your intranet or another communication channel will let you lay those concerns to rest.

For more tips like these, check out the webinar Marketing Pricing Initiatives for Success or the case study on Effective Internal Marketing for Pricing Initiatives. These resources can help you craft your own strategy for communicating your initiative in a way that convinces the other people at your firm to get on board with the project.

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