Competing on price is often just being in front of the wrong customer, with the wrong product at the wrong time. Avoiding that situation is a subject for another article.
But in the hyper-competitive lumber industry, we are often in front of the right customer, at the right time with the right product, and we still are forced to compete on price.
Use these techniques to battle price:
1. Assume the order. “When we put this together” not “If we put this together.” Act as if the order is yours.
2. Don’t bring up price until the customer does. When we hold off on price we show confidence in our proposal. This relaxes our customer. When our customer is interested, they will ask about price.
We can close from “What is the price on this?” – “That’s the good part, we can get this to you at $350, when would you like to take delivery?”
- Propose don’t Quote. Questions like “What are you looking for?” or “What do you need?” Make us shopping services or quotron units. When we propose solutions to our customers, we are proposing something unique, special, all our own.
- When customers say, “Your price is too high.” We say, “Oh, (really), we’ve been selling at these levels, what were you thinking/feeling/hearing about price?”
“What are you thinking?” is a discussion question. “What do you want to pay?” gives all the power to the customer and will produce a lower price discussion every time.
- Quality with a Similar Story. “Mrs. Customer, the quality warrants the price. I have a customer in Texas, a real price shopper. For six months I tried to get him to try this product and he wouldn’t. A couple of weeks ago he was caught in a bind and had to try it. He loves it and has re-ordered. The quality makes it a great deal for him and for you also, let’s put this together!”
- Fear, Scarcity and Urgency Closes combat price.
“I know this is more than you are thinking of paying Tom, but people are paying these prices and we are running out of stock, so let’s take care of this before they’re all gone. What’s your PO# on this?”
“Tom, you’re a busy man. You can shop this thing and maybe save a few bucks, but your time is worth a lot, and when you come back these could be gone. Let’s get this one off your To Do list. Give me your PO number, this is a great product.”
- Is price the only thing standing in the way of us putting this deal together? We bend ourselves three ways from Friday to get the price right, AND THEN, there is another slight problem… Ask this question early and save lots of time! The beauty of this question is that it is a Closing question. Either way the customer answers, we are moving towards a Close.
- Just because that is a good deal doesn’t mean this isn’t a good deal also. (Or, that’s a great deal, and this is also.)
When a customer tells you they can (or did) buy something similar for less money, DO NOT ACT DEFEATED. These supposed lower prices are a test to if we believe in our product and our price.
- Don’t lower the price without customer participation. Don’t negotiate with yourself. If your customer won’t talk about price don’t fish for a lower number alone.
- Best Quote Price Vs Best Sell Price. When we try to ask customers where we need to be on price, they say, “I don’t play that way, you tell me the best you can do and I’ll let you know.”
Change the paradigm.
“Mr. Customer, we sell this product all over the U.S., do you know who gets the best prices from us?” Most of the time the customer will answer, “Probably the customers that buy the most from you.” You say, “No, the customers who get the best prices are the customers that work with us.”
Go on to explain, “Mr. Customer, I am giving you my very best Quote Price, but we will have to work together to get my (our) very best Buy Price.”
Sell “teamwork” to our customers when they try to make us their adversary.
Let’s treat price as just another detail. Propose unique solutions and use the above techniques to compete against the price objection.