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When Price-Advantage Selling Falls Short

The Situation

Denise sells industrial paint to manufacturers. Because of its excellent business practices, her company has always been the leader on price. That’s why she was stunned recently by what regular customer Steve had to say:

Steve: The bid you sent for white primer . . . it was 10 percent more than what ColorGem (competitor) is selling for.
Denise: I’m sorry to hear that. The cost of materials had a spike recently, but I think it’s only temporary.
Steve: We don’t stock an inventory. We can’t afford to hold off on an order.
Denise: I could reduce our bid by 3 percent.
Steve: That’s not enough. I can’t pass up their price. Sorry.

The Price Bind

Denise hasn’t been in this position with Steve — being undercut on price. Her reaction is to quickly shoot a new price. She does it so easily that Steve may wonder if he should have held out for better deals in the past.

Using Q4 selling techniques, what could Denise have done instead to counteract a pricing battle and keep this customer? What might she still do?

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