Competition is the cornerstone of business strategy, and there's an ever-increasing number of competitors that are willing to do what it takes to secure new business. Pricing wars can come at a dime a dozen in some industries, and it's up to you to know rules of engagement without compromising the integrity of your business model, at the expense of customer satisfaction. There are ways, though, to keep yourself off the ropes and a trained eye on the prize when it comes to effective pricing negotiations. Observe: Put the Price Aside When going into the throes of a negotiation, the best approach is to remove price from the equation altogether. Instead of arguing bottom-line price, ask the prospect if your product or service is of more overall value to them. This determines, well, everything. If it's a situation where the only thing that separates you from the others, in the prospect's eyes, is price, it's in your best interest to suggest they go with the alternative. The Product Always Comes First For years, companies like Home Depot, Newegg and Amazon have based their models on tasking customers with finding items to which they can then out price their competitors. "Price Match" strategies like these only seek to convince prospects that undercutting a product's price point is the best way to get the most for your money. But who is this truly helping? During negotiations, a prospect may bring up the fact that they love your product more versus a competitor's, but are still shaky on the price. This is when you reaffirm the fact that the value of your product comes first. Always. Conversely, your prospect ends up receiving a marginalized version of what would have been an otherwise stellar product, and your business suffers by becoming known as the "cheaper alternative". Sacrificing the quality of your product, in an attempt to satisfy a prospect's proposed bargain, helps no one. Never Waiver Nothing makes a prospect happier than coming away from a negotiation feeling like they've secured more for less. Some live for the undercut. How much do you really want to play that game, though? Once you've established that devaluing your company's product is not an option, your actions need to reflect that. Position yourself as liaison for the prospect and help them find the best alternatives based on their financial needs. Even though you may not close the deal, you're still able to preserve your desired business model, while establishing a good-faith relationship with the prospect that could help you later down the line. Key Takeaways This approach may sound strange to some, uncomfortable to most, and a maverick way to conduct business to all--as it should. Remember: a company is only as good as the quality of the products or services it creates. Period. The key is to never compromise on what you consider the absolute best for your prospects in lieu of maximizing the bottom line. Once you choose to accept this, the better equipped you'll be to handle negotiations of this caliber in the future.
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