How to Respond When Told Your Rate Is Too High

by Linda P. Kester Nov/Dec 2014
Regular Monitor contributor Linda P. Kester discusses how to counteract customer resistance to “too high” rates. She advises salespeople to engage clients to learn how you can better serve them, demonstrating your rose as a problem preventer and solution provider, an ally more valuable than an instant rate dropper.

When we request financial statements from a potential lessee we’re looking for financial stability, positive cash flow, and a business that is capable of sustaining its monthly payments while showing a profit.

If we understand how important it is to be profitable, then why are some salespeople so quick to drop their rates? The most common obstacle salespeople ask me how to avoid is a customer’s objection to rates deemed too high. Salespeople encounter frustration with both their customers and their own financial constraints that they believe prevent them from being able to compete. We all know that selling is not just about the lowest rate; if it were then there would be no need for salespeople. It’s the sales person’s job and responsibility to justify the difference between the rate and the alternatives available to the customer in the marketplace. That’s what reps are paid for. It’s part of the selling process, and it can be fun.

When a customer says your rates are too high and asks if you can do it for less, it is tempting to respond right away with, “Let me see what I can do for you.” This is not the correct way to respond — that’s not selling. Stop, take a deep breath and start asking questions. Don’t be afraid to engage in discussion with the customer. If you drop your rate you are acting like a commodity instead of focusing on being that professional salesperson that is there to help solve problems. Salespeople are problem preventers and solution providers, not instant rate droppers.

Engage the customer in a discussion about their past financing experiences, as well as their current and future equipment needs. Understand the macro needs of the customer. Put yourself in their shoes. Ask them to educate you about what they need. Share stories about issues other lessees faced that you helped to solve. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back, but don’t come across like an egomaniac either; customers will see right through that. Otherwise you’re selling just to sell, not selling to help your customer solve problems and meet their current and ongoing needs.

Here are some strategies and questions to keep in front of you so when the rate objection is raised you won’t panic, but rather parlay the objection into an opportunity for you to learn more about the customer, their unique situation and their present and future needs.
For example, if you are dealing with the lessee directly, ask:

  • “Too high? Can you help me understand what you mean by that? What does ‘too high’ mean to you?” Sometimes a question responding to a question is the best way to open a dialogue. Asking about and repeating the objection in a gentle and inquisitive voice may cause the customer to educate you about the reason behind the resistance.
  • “Remember Mr. Customer; this is a lease, not a loan. Interest rates happen in a loan, when you borrow money and agree to pay it back. You’re asking for a lease, the right to use equipment that someone else owns in exchange for a monthly payment. This is like an apartment lease, not a real estate mortgage.”
  • “If we could extend the term to give you a lower monthly payment would that help?”
  • “What would you like the monthly payment to be?”
  • “Will this equipment generate income once it is installed?”
  • “If it makes income and you want to own the equipment at the end of the term, would you be willing to pay more money to own the equipment at the end of the term in exchange for a lower monthly payment?”
  • “Who is my competition?”

Question the objection before you resolve it. Frequently with price objections, the lessee fears that they are paying too much, or they have some random upper limit about what the monthly payment should be and are determined not to exceed that. They are just looking for reassurance that the monthly payment is in line with the value they receive. Another thing to remember is that everybody wants a deal, but they don’t necessarily expect to get everything they ask for. The customer just wants to know that you did something special for them.

The key is to hold your ground. Be confident in your leasing services and tell them what you provide that your competitors can’t. The more you know about their needs, the stronger your selling points.

If the objection is from the end user and they are comparing you to a bank, use these questions:

  • “Do you need to have some type of compensating balance of assets involved? If so, what are those terms and for how long?”
  • “Will the bank directly debit your account each month?”
  • “Do you have to have a checking account there?”
  • “Wouldn’t you rather keep your lines of credit available for an emergency? What if you ever had payroll problems, wouldn’t you rather use your line for that?”
  • “Will they offer you 100% of the equipment cost?”
  • “Have you discussed write-off benefits with your CPA?”
  • “Will the bank get creative? Will they allow an early payoff, upgrade ability, anything other than a $1.00 purchase option? Leasing companies offer much more creativity and flexibility than banks.”

If a customer is questioning your rates by comparing them to bank rates you need to resell the benefits of leasing. Many customers will see that they are getting more for their money dealing with you rather than a bank. If nothing else, show them your flexibility in lease structuring that banks cannot offer.

However, if they just want the very lowest rate and have decided to go with their bank, you could say, “In the event that you run into problems with your bank in the future, be sure to keep me in mind.” Always plant that seed in your customer’s mind that you are the alternative to their bank. You will be pleasantly surprised when they call you in the future.

Remember, there is always room for differentiation. What can you provide that your competitors can’t or won’t? Learn everything you can about your prospect, and use the objection as an opportunity to build rapport with your customer and close the deal. This strategy will make your financial statements a whole lot stronger.

Linda P. Kester is a bestselling author and professional speaker with 20 years of experience in leasing sales and marketing management. As founder of the Institute of Personal Development, Kester has helped hundreds of salespeople increase their volume. Her book, 366 Marketing Tips for Equipment Leasing, has produced results for leasing companies in the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia. For more information, visit

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