The Price You Pay When You Hide Your Pricing

I’m seeing a growing number of tech companies who have decided NOT to list pricing on their websites. I ALWAYS challenge this, because there’s three things wrong with this decision.

1. Hiding your pricing creates fatal levels of doubt

Why don’t they say what it costs?

This is the worst. Not showing your pricing raises all sorts of questions: are they so inexperienced they don’t know what the value of their product is? Maybe it’s not very good. Are they so complicated that there will be a bunch of work just to get a price from them? I don’t want to work with an inexperienced or complex vendor.

Are they desperate?

Maybe this vendor isn’t listing their pricing because they will low-ball any other price I get, and they want to keep that flexibility? I don’t want to work with a low-ball, boiler-room vendor, even if I’m looking for the lowest-cost provider

Are they really expensive?

This one happens if you have no pricing page, but also if you have a pricing page, but the price listed is “Contact Us for a Quote”. Humans don’t like to feel like they’re going to be taken advantage of, and they don’t want to waste time evaluating your product if you might be so expensive that they’d never be able to buy you. They’ll usually assume a higher price than reality.

2. Hiding your pricing blocks you from big positioning opportunities

It blocks you from a great way to tell people your product is for them

If I’m a mid-sized business, and I go to your pricing page and see a package “for mid-sized businesses” I’m immediately more likely to explore your solution further, because I believe you’re actually purpose built for me, have other customers my size, and will have even more in the future, so I can be more comfortable getting myself tied to your roadmap/service level. But no pricing page = no joy.

It blocks you from showing you understand their needs

Similar to the above, if I go to your pricing page and find a package/combination that’s functionally close to exactly what I’m looking for, I assume you’re more likely to understand me and to be a good partner. But no pricing page = no good.

It blocks you from landing a potential differentiator

Here we’re talking not just about showing your pricing publicly, but about using packaging (and even price point) as a differentiator. If your competition packages on users, you can stand out by packaging on flat fee, consumption etc., and that difference immediately gets you points in the “who should we explore further?” game when a buyer is doing research. Similarly, marketing yourself as the highest-cost provider can get you automatically included in an evaluation. Ditto lowest-cost provider. Having a pricing page that declares this about you helps get you into the evaluation – but not if you don’t have a pricing page.

3. It slows down or eliminates you from the buying process

This one is even simpler: at multiple companies I’ve worked for/with, leads off of the pricing page are some of the highest converting (better than demo leads). There are few better buying signs than a buyer checking out your pricing. A pricing page is a key element of your lead-scoring capability, and leads that come directly off the page are gold. Why would you reduce your chances this way?

It’s true I’ve run into a couple companies that are exceptions to this rule (out of hundreds), but those were both pretty unusual. It’s more likely than not that if you’re choosing to hide your pricing, you’re paying a big price.

Yours in PMM,

Todd

Written from the sunny front porch in Moss Beach

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