I hear this question once in a while. Many of my clients are confronted by the low prices of their competitors and get problems to justify their honestly calculated quotes.
Here are three questions that help you to handle situations like this:
- Why does the client still talk to you?
In my opinion, that is the crucial question. If the product or service you offered were truly comparable, your client would just buy from your competitor without further ado. The fact that they still talk to you (although it’s unlikely that you lower your price by 20%) shows that they are interested in you. Out of experience, they need help to explain internally why they still work with you. Provide good arguments and facts that speak for your solution and give in a little for goodwill. But for sure, it doesn’t have to be 20%.
- Why can your competitor manage to offer that low price?
Most of the time, with a low-priced offer, there is a catch. The quality oft he products, produced in another country, could be worse. Or the used material is worse and therefore cheaper. The solution doesn’t offer all the features that yours does. With services, savings are made by engaging more inexpensive personal, which most of the time brings issues for the customer. Often, clients compare “apples“ and “pears.“ If you dig deeper, you will find differences that are of disadvantage to your client.
And then there is the other possibility that your competitor wants to “buy the market.“ Good products are sold without profit just to gain marketshare. That’s the most unfavorable situation. Customers use this situation understandably to their favor. The question is, how long your rival can keep it up. For one of my customers, the solution was to focus on speciality products and on clients that needed them. In the form of package deals, they were also able to sell their comparable products.
- Do you want to play along?
In general, clients that just buy by the price aren’t good clients. They aren’t loyal, tend to cause stress and will be gone when the next bargain is in sight. A colleague of mine once said: “Some clients are perfect for your competitor.“ I honestly believe that you, as a quality provider, shouldn’t give in to price fights.
And then, we are back to the question: “Why does the client still talk to you?“ Clients gamble and they are allowed to do that. You don’t have to play along. It’s your decision at which point you end the game. And very often the client will decide to work with you anyway because the decision was already made long before the price negotiation started.