How to Avoid Pricing Pressure
MARKETING | SALES

How to Avoid Pricing Pressure

“What do I do when my prospective customer says we were not selected because our price was too high?” This is a question many companies grapple with. It’s very common for potential clients to give price as their reason for not engaging with you. So what should you do about it?

Ian Altman, a Forbes columnist, author, and strategic advisor, explains and clarifies three steps to pursue: Understand what is really going on with your prospect; realize that it is rarely about price; and assess how you can improve your odds.

What Could Be Going On
Altman starts by understanding what the client might really mean when they say “Your price is too high”.

First, you might actually provide the same thing as another vendor for a higher price. However rarely will another competitor offer the exact same solution as you. Unless you are selling a drop-shipped commodity, there is always room for differentiation.

Second, your prospect has another reason why they selected your competitor; however, they thought saying “Your price is too high” would be more polite than telling you the real reason.

Many a “white lie” has been said to spare your feelings. It feels better as the seller to say, “They undercut us” than it feels to say, “They outsold us.”

What If It Actually Is About Price?
Altman contends it is almost NEVER about price. But, if it is, here are common things that can go wrong.

  • You jumped to what you were selling instead of focusing on the issue they needed to solve.
  • You failed to engage your prospect in a discussion about their past experiences in similar projects.
  • You did not share stories about issues other clients faced that you helped to solve.
  • In short, you did not do anything to help you stand out from the competition.

In many cases, you the seller frame the discussion about price. You might ask your potential client how much they are currently spending. Many sellers will say, “Maybe we can get you a better deal.”

What if instead you asked “0-10, how happy are you with the current provider?” You can either provide a better outcome, or a better price. Without a better outcome, why would they switch to you other than price?

How Can You Improve Your Odds?
Can you provide the best advice to them if you have to respond without any additional information? Of course you cannot.

It is in both your best interest and your prospect that you ask key questions to determine if there is a fit between their situation and what you offer.

The key, however, is to make an honest assessment. You just might learn that you are not the best alternative. Clients are used to vendors insisting their solution is the best, even when it isn’t. Your candor will get noticed, and in most cases rewarded.

Demonstrate that you are always looking out for the client’s best interest. Make it clear that finding the right fit is more important that making the sale. If you do these things right, you just might become the vendor they all are hoping will win.

It’s Your Turn
Check out Ian Altman’s full article here. And then determine how will you respond when your prospect says, “Your price is too high?” Contact me to discuss how to apply these principles in your business.


Ian Altman is a Forbes columnist, author, strategic advisor, and internationally sought speaker on integrity-based sales and business development. As a successful services and technology CEO for two decades he draws on years of success and research on how customers make decisions.


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