Three tactics you may not have considered that stop you giving way on price

When I was a buyer, printing companies gave me a pretty easy time

As soon as I asked for a lower price I received one. Printers live in constant fear of losing out on price to the competition. They weren’t prepared to risk missing out on a job. They weren’t prepared to risk losing a customer. So they simply carried on reducing their prices.

It was rare that a printer challenged me. They rarely asked why I needed a cheaper price or if I had actually received one from the competition. They conditioned me to carry on asking – after all, that was my job as a buyer.

A favourite trick that I used was to say that there wasn’t enough budget to allow me to accept the printer’s price. In reality, many of the projects that I worked on didn’t even have a budget… But this tactic allowed me to carry on getting reduced prices.

Printers were missing out on a very important buying principle.

If a buyer contacts you and asks for a lower price, they are interested in buying from you

If a buyer want to negotiate with you it's a sign they want to buy. It's up to you to win the best deal

If a buyer want to negotiate with you it’s a sign they want to buy. It’s up to you to win the best deal

Buying is an emotional decision as well as a logical decision. Buyers usually choose which supplier they prefer to work with. If they are negotiating with you, it’s because they want to work with you, and not the competition.

This gives you a certain amount of opportunity in a negotiation. It doesn’t mean that you can charge double the price of the competition, but you may well be able to create a better deal than the one the buyer is proposing.

Here are three tactics you can use if a buyer asks you for a lower price.

Offer an alternative solution

Rather than lowering your price, offer more value to the buyer. Might they be interested in a better paper stock or an extra finish? Can you give them a quicker turnaround or a dedicated delivery?

The advantage of this tactic is that the value of the upgrade is worth more to the customer than it is to you. For instance, a tighter turnaround may cost you nothing. But it might allow a customer to book a late advert or include the latest offer prices. The price of the extra finish costs you much less than what you would sell it on to the customer.

Sometimes this tactic doesn’t work and you are going to have to reduce your price. That’s where the next tactic comes in.

Ask for something in return

If you are lowering your price, you don’t have to do it for free. Ask the customer for a commitment of extra volume, better payment terms or an easier schedule. These all have a worth to you but some may cost the customer very little. Even getting referrals or a testimonial can give you extra value.

If this doesn’t work, consider tactic number three.

Say no

This is a tactic for the brave! However, sometimes it is right to walk away from a deal if the terms are not right for you. The buyer may not be expecting this response from you. They may not have a plan B. You may end up with the work on your terms.

This tactic has worked for me on more than one occasion. On one occasion a prospect had been very difficult. So, when they came back to me, I actually raised my prices rather settle at my original proposal!

Naturally, not everyone will agree with these tactics.

Surely buyers will always choose the lowest price?

This may be true when we are talking about standard, “commodity” print. No-one really wants to negotiate hard to place a set of business cards or a simple flyer. But, when it comes to more expensive or more complex jobs, remember that buyers are making an emotional as well as a logical purchase.

Many buyers are scared to change to another supplier that they don’t trust. They may do it if there is a significant saving. However, they are always looking for a reason not to make the move.

It’s time to put this into practice

Pick a couple of customers to try this out on. Choose ones that are not so important to you: make sure they have a small turnover or are ones that you really don’t like dealing with! Then try out the three tactics that I have suggested. You might be surprised at the results.

If you want to learn more of my negotiation tactics as a buyer, and how you can successfully put a stop to them, check out  “How To Make Print More Profitable”. I tell you the tactics I used to use as a buyer. Then you learn a seven-stage strategy to overcome these tricks.

Just make sure that you don’t fall for the tricks that I used to practice as a buyer. Don’t make the buyer’s life too easy!

Please add your successful negotiation tactics in the comments box below.

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