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  • Alec Drake

Manage Perceptions, Not Price

Updated: 6 days ago

We lean on what we think are facts to build our case for the price and to support value.

Image by Sofie Zbořilová from Pixabay

Sales and pricing systems in radio have evolved far beyond the early days of manager guesstimates or detailed spreadsheet formulas. Today in larger markets or major companies there are internal proprietary tools or outside vendors pricing inventory for managers. In smaller markets with independent owners, the prices still originate from the sales manager. No matter where the price comes from, as sellers, we must manage price acceptance.

How do we frame the price discussion in a fragmented media world? What role does value play when price perception is emotionally driven or when the price is servant to a metric we do not control?

Law #4 – Price and Perception

In the renowned book The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Al Ries and Jack Trout list #4 as, The Law of Perception, stating, "Marketing is not a battle of products, it's a battle of perceptions." The chapter promotes, "The best product does not always win. It's an illusion. There is no objective reality. There are no facts. All truth is relative. Relative to your mind or the mind of another human being."

Gerd Altmann-Pixalbay

Price is a marketing element with a message and can fall prey to perceptual roadblocks. The quality of your brand is connected to price. We have all heard "you get what you pay for," although it seems like customers today dismiss the phrase. Your job in sales is to manage perceptions, not price, and the better you develop this skill set, the more you will sell.

Generally speaking, the prospect or client will find the funds to get what they want if the perceived value aligns with the product. In sales, we must raise the perceived value to match the price perception. Managing perception is a 360-degree effort that begins upon initial contact.

First impressions, communication style, and points of differentiation are important. The process also involves defining the quality of the product, matching needs to solutions, the image made by you as the salesperson, and your company's reputation in the marketplace.

Prospect Engagement to Manage Perceptions

We should follow a sequence of mutual learning that informs both the prospect and us along the way; if you listen carefully, the discovery call details will guide you toward the solution. We should keep prospects engaged and learning by getting "mini buy-ins" and building your closing stack before any presentation.

These prospect engagements include discussing the creative campaign and activating elements for promotions planned to support the advertising or digital strategies. Create a list of all the options for your own "mini buy-ins" and have markers in your communication pipeline to activate.

Gerd Altmann2-Pixalbay

What Can We Negotiate?

If pricing is out of your hands locally or you hit a wall of pricing objections, there is a strategy for negotiation if we consider terms and conditions. These conditions of sale can work as a lifeboat to avoid unnecessary discount pressures. You can find more on using Terms and Conditions from my previous article here.


In closing, changing the mind and perceptions of customers or prospects is difficult. We lean on what we think are facts to build our case for the price and to support value. Remember, those are your facts, and unless the prospect takes ownership, you will not close the sale.

Thank you for reading this article, and please pass it along to your colleagues.
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About The Author:

Alec Drake openly shares revenue management strategies and sales improvement ideas in the "Sales Success Library" at He is a regular contributor to Radio Ink Magazine, where he leverages four decades of experience to write about sales and management. Alec is the founder of The Radio Invigoration Project (T.R.I.P.), a support initiative for local radio sales and promotion staff.

Drake Media Group, LLC retains exclusive rights to any original content in articles written by Alec Drake or published on any third-party platforms and featured in any podcast.

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