Bobby Fischer used a famous endgame move in chess known as “building a bridge” or the Lucena position; Fischer strategized his moves to build up to the final checkmate.

In sales, positioning pricing is like building a bridge. (But in the end, you get a different kind of check, mate.)

In the famous move, the rook protects the king from being checked by the opponent. Think of value as the rook, and your product as the king. Protect your product (from its competitors) with value. Work together with the prospect to advance the product for the win.

It’s inevitable that the prospect will ask, “What's the price?” or “What kind of discount can we get?” Below are the three guidelines to make sure you don’t get stuck on price, and can sell on value:

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Leading Up to Positioning Your Pricing

Before talking budget and pricing, there’s a lot that needs to happen to build rapport, demo effectively, and provide value to your prospect.

First things first, define your value drivers. In other words, when a prospect looks at your pricing page, what makes them want to pay more or less for your product? Is it based on features and functionality, volume, or both? Knowing your value driver will dictate how you explain your product to a new prospect.

Let’s put that into context.

At, our value driver is features and functionality at three different tiers: Basic, Plus, and Growth. A main value driver in the Growth Package is automation. As such, we tell stories, explain benefits, and discuss use cases for this feature at length. If we fail to position this (and other features) effectively before explaining pricing, we miss opportunity.

Positioning for Value Driver

Once you’ve earned the right to talk budget and pricing, the way you do it is paramount. Think about it. You’ve spent hours establishing what the price should be, what value clients are receiving, and how your pricing relates competitively.

Too often, we see reps do a great job up to the point at which someone asks the cost. Here are a few tips that will help you coach reps on best practices:

  • Start with ranges. Based on what you’ve shared, an investment would be between 10-20k annually, depending on the features and functionality you’d need.
  • PAUSE. This isn’t an old school sales tactic where you present price and let them respond. This is simply taking a breath to let them ask questions before going on a long diatribe.
  • Proceed to explain the key value drivers, tailored to the prospects needs. “You talked about the need to ______. Based on that, I’d guess you’d be best suited for our _____ package because it includes________, _______, and ______.  

Presenting With Confidence 

Fischer was aggressive in his endgame. He was confident in his own moves as well as aware of the possible moves of his opponent. There will always be inherent tension when talking price. Anticipate this. For instance, every rep on your team should be taught the ten most common responses to your pricing model. 

Be confident that your product is worth it. Showing your team real success stories, with real numbers and ROI will aid this confidence.

Though the strategy behind positioning pricing is fundamental, remember that your prospects aren’t pawns. They won’t move just one way or the other. Anticipate every possible move. In the end, everyone involved will feel like kings and queens.

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Originally published Aug 19, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated May 13 2020


Pricing in Sales