By Dave Kahle 

Question: What is the best way to deal with a customer who only wants to hear lower prices?

Answer:  First, let me question the accuracy of your interpretation.  There are very few customers who only want lower prices.  One of the reasons why we hear “lower prices” from many customers is that we haven’t given them a reason to spend more.  Are you really convinced that the customer doesn’t care about anything except lower prices?  Before I can answer the question, you need to answer these:

            Have you talked with the customer about your value-added distinctiveness – what your company, your product, or your service brings to the relationship other than price?  In other words, have you shared the reasons why he should spend a little more to buy it from you?

Have you dug deeply into the needs and interests of this customer, and discovered nothing – no problem to solve, no goal with which you could assist – upon which you can build a creative solution?

Have you met all the other decision-makers and influencers in that account and done both of the above with them?

Have you trained the customer to push for lower prices by making price the primary subject of your conversation?

Have you trained the customer to push for lower prices by reducing your price sometime (s) in the past when the customer has requested it?

Have you trained the customer to hold out for lower prices by responding to his “giving you the last look?”

If you responded to the first three questions with “yes” and to the last three with “no,” then I’ll accept your conclusion that the customer just wants to hear about lower prices.

If that’s not the case, then before you can conclude that the customer is only interested in lower prices, you need to attend to the tactics discussed above.

Now, let’s say that you have done all the things represented by the first three questions, and not done any that are inherent in the last three questions, then you have a right to your conclusion.  This customer is really and truly only interested in lower prices.

I’d suggest you have a frank talk with him. Explain that you’ll do your best to provide the lowest price possible.  In order to take costs out of the transaction, you can no longer afford to call on him in person.  Ask him to email you his specifications, and you’ll respond that way.

Or, better yet, turn the account over to a proactive inside sales person who can deal with him exclusively by the phone, and then you invest your time in your other customers.