Last Updated on February 16, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev

The pricing policy is an essential part of the business, but even more important is how the price is presented to the customer. Some ways are such an apparent attempt to milk the client that using them today is the surest way to ruin the sale.

sleazy salesman

“What is your budget?”

Such tactic originated from bazaars of 3rd world countries where the whole trading process is a battle in which the seller tries to scam the buyer as much as he can. Sadly, such an uncivilized bargaining method is also used in B2B business, usually by low-life traders.

When the seller counters your price inquire with “What is your budget?” you can be sure that he has a goal of scamming you.

Why does my budget matter? You are concerned about my financial planning?

Or are you trying to figure out how much this type of service or product costs? If you are, which is very unlikely, don’t embarrass yourself like this, but rather do some research on Google.

In reality, such a question aims to probe the client’s financial ability to later suck as much money from him as possible.

Concealing the price

This is the tactic that some high-end consumer brands use. But it’s even more common with expensive B2B services and products, that are usually provided by large companies. The first sign of this is that the website lacks any pricing information. If the company refuses to provide the cost for you after the first attempt, you can stop dealing with them as the price will most likely be completely unreasonable.

These companies often come up with fake arguments such as “price is not our main competitive edge” or “we compete with quality, not with price”. They would say anything to you to convince you that the price is not that matters, and you could almost believe them if they didn’t make such a huge scene out of the cost, by refusing to reveal it.

The reason for this tactic is quite foolish. The seller assumes that during the con game, the client will become so emotionally attached to the product that when the cost is revealed, it will no longer matter to him.

In reality, though, the reason for hiding the price is most likely that if the figure became common knowledge, the seller would be shamed and laughed at by the public. This is also the reason why many B2B companies require NDA to be signed before revealing the cost.

It’s true that in some cases it’s difficult for a company to make a quote before inquiring about all necessary details, but in this case, they should at least provide their hourly fee or the cost for the baseline product or service.

Unlike “What is your budget?” method, the businesses who conceal the price do not change it according to customers financial capabilities. This makes such a tactic even more pointless, as they do not benefit from hiding the price in the first place. They only risk making the client frustrated and losing the deal.

Exaggerating the price

This tactic is not always a price game. Sometimes the seller truly thinks that his overvalued price is reasonable, and in cases where some clients actually pay him that much, there’s no reason, why he should charge any less. Thus it’s often hard to figure out if the seller is trying to cheat you, or if that is his real offer. Best way to find this out is to start bargaining. However, some salesmen are so talented at the haggling that inexperienced buyer will not be able to expose them. In this case, the only way to succeed is to exit the negotiation process and wait if the seller will resume it by suddenly offering a discount. When bargaining online, it may take a week or even longer before the seller counteroffers with a discounted price. If the price is still not exactly reasonable, the whole game starts from the beginning, and again it will be unknown if this is the final offer or the seller has still room for the price cut.

Such a tactic is mostly used by individual traders and small companies and almost never by large brands or corporation. Unlike the other two tactics, it actually works, especially in situations where the buyer truly wants to acquire the product or service. A skilled salesperson will pretend that the buyer is offending him, by asking for a discount, and many insecure people will fall for this trap, as they will think that if they offed the seller, he will refuse to make the deal. This is, of course, a lie. Business is not personal; a salesman will always sell to you, even if you are being rude. First of all, it’s his job, and second of all, he still wants money from you, even if he doesn’t like you. However, in the case of services, the quality may drop significantly, if the price if bargained and especially if the seller is also the person who delivers the service and he gets upset. Thus it’s always advisable to use social skills and intuition if one possesses them, to navigate through the challenging situation.


Filip Poutintsev, the Chief Editor of Honest Pros and Cons, is a long term business writer, who has been featured in various online publications such as Forbes, CoinTelegraph and HackerNoon. Now he writes exclusively for Honest Pros and Cons.