Lowest Price Guaranteed – All The Way To The Bottom.

Lowest price guaranteed!

We will not be undersold!

If you find a lower price we will…

Competing on price, not something we all relish. If you’re a discount store, it is part of your brand values. It’s what gets ’em in your door. For the rest of us, it’s something that can easily drive us out of business. Reducing our business to a commodity, is a horrible place to be. That’s especially true if the other guy is willing to buy the business or sell below their cost in an effort to outlast you. (who has the deeper pockets).

In the graphic design business, designers are repeatedly competing with anyone with a computer. How does a graphic design business compete with others who charge a fraction of their cost? Branding – plain and simple. When a person hires design projects on price they surrender professionalism, expert business advice, experience, communication smarts and ethics. Design professionals repeatedly win projects for several thousand dollars where their competition sells it for a few hundred. When you are aware of how brand works, you stop taking client relationships for granted. You over deliver on service. You keep your brand front and center and you continue to add value. Take the high road with your brand, look as powerful as you can.

The minute a business takes their eye off their brand, they start to slide toward commodity hell. At first glance, you might assume that there isn’t a problem competing on price. But ask yourself, “Where will this strategy take me, if my competitions believes it is the solution as well?” Definitely – it will take the both of you straight to the bottom. Deepest pocket wins!

Some may scoff at this article. Even they have to admit that at times they too have purchased the more expensive product or service, from businesses that on the surface are identical to their competitors. Roofers, hardware and auto parts suppliers for example. But the reason for these more expensive purchases was the value added. The experience of the employees from whom you draw great advice. The fact that they look like they are going to be around next week. All these perceptions are branding advantages. Consistency of image itself breeds familiarity and a sense of comfort.

If you want to avoid commodity hell, find valuable ways to build relationships with your customers. Stay in touch with them. Offer them valuable advice and connect them with resources that make them appreciate their connection to you. Have a positioning strategy that absolutely differentiates your brand and resonates with your audience in a big way.

Sure, every now and then it’s about price. Nothing is absolute. But this doesn’t mean you can’t step your brand up and try to side step the approach, by adding more value. You want to grow the new relationship not based on price but on brand. This involves a sell-up strategy and strong adherence to your brand values. It’s a constant battle – but the good news is that it’s winnable overall.

Ed Roach

For more than 30 years, I have worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiates them from their competition. I appreciate working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions. I consult predominantly with businesses facilitating my proprietary branding process. This branding process effectively focuses a company's brand delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace.

I have international speaking experience and am the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today. I'm also a "expert panellist" with Bob Proctor (from The Secret)'s Matrixx Events in Toronto.

I have been interviewed in all media and I also blog extensively and uses the digital realm on the web to connect and promote my services world-wide.

I have international speaking experience including a recent event in Prague, in the Czech Republic and is the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today, the book is available on Amazon.com and the Amazon Kindle store.

My clients are from Canada, The United States, Ukraine, India, United Arab Emirates and Tanzania.

I recently facilitated a workshop in San Diego aimed at teaching Graphic Design companies how to build brands for their customers.

Comments

  1. For most customers, they are after to cheaper price offer for the service that they need. However, there are still customers who are very much willing to pay for a high quality of work. As a matter of fact, some give bonuses. All you need to do as a service provider is to update customers from time to time and to give them quality result at the end.

  2. We are all looking for a deal. But at what price? At home my wife and I rarely if ever go with the lowest bid on a project. This is because we would have to sacrifice quality and followup. There is a price to pay if ‘lowest price’ is your goal.

  3. Ken Chandler says:

    Great article ED, no scoffing here.I actually follow that routine on a weekly basis.I have over time learned a few extra dollars can go a long way when issues arise.I will gladly pay more for the peace of mind knowing I will get decent customer service if I have a problem. My rule of thumb is , Do they offer a decent product or service? Is the pricing within a reasonable rate? Will they stand behind it?
    Last week while in a store I spent 15 minutes looking for something while the clerk discussed her date with a fellow employee. It took 15 minutes for her to tear away from her conversation to ask me if she could help.With a polite no thank you, I left and made my purchase at another store. Price at this point was mute. The relationship this business has with me the customer is damaged.

  4. There are lot of people looking for products that suit their budget. So its fair to think from their point of view. We can still produce good products with less cost, provided reduce the profit %. But there are still more people who buy costly products. Thats the reason we need to decide whom you want to target…

  5. You are right-eBay is a good example where competition can run you out of business in one day-Well do you compete with someone selling at .99

  6. Thank you for your input Sagar.

  7. office furniture file cabinets says:

    Now that I’m older I can appreciate this post… it’s so true. It’s like when I go to the store and only one or two checkout lines are open and the store is packed…the prices are good but I would rather go to a place where I can get in and out even if the prices are a little higher! In the work that I do there is a lot of companies who have lower prices. This is because I compete internationally with companies who’s cost of living allows them to charge 3/4 lower than me. I offer value, free reports,articles,videos and good customer service. I have to do more to prove we’re the best but it pays for itself. I don’t get everyone but it gives me the few people that I need.

  8. Office Furniture, I think that you are competing in a smart way by adding value. The people you missed put up with poor service to save themselves a few bucks. When you buy on price alone, there ARE compromises. Great comment.

    Jane, thanks for your input. There are always ways to compete against .99. I compete against free from time to time and win.

  9. Myself if I was starting up a business, competiting solely on price would be the hail mary pass in my arsenal. When you get into price wars your competing with the walmarts of the world, and with their buying power and overseas conections, you’re pretty much done before you even get started.

  10. That’s right Octavio. Your can’t win a price war if you don’t have deeper pockets than the other guy. fact of life. Pick another fight instead.

  11. It’s almost like great customer service. Everyone always brags that they have the best customer service. But I feel that should be a given, and shouldn’t be a focus of luring people to your services. Companies should have great customer service by DEFAULT!

  12. I will never sell my business products at low rates if my competitors are selling at low prices. It can cause me a lot of damage and loss. Thus decreasing my business value. Great article to inspire me. Thanks a lot ED ROACH.

  13. I agree, there are individuals who prefer quality and not the price. Usually, goods with very low price comes with very low quality. So, it is still best to check on the quality of goods that you are about to buy.

  14. Going into a price war is a lose-lose situation. Deepest pocket might be there till the end but that doesn’t mean they won — they’ve also incurred losses. Nobody wins in a price war. Even the customer ends up losing because they don’t get the full value – everybody cuts down on expenses in order to match the low price. I believe quality and full customer service is the way to go. Prove your integrity and commitment to the customer and the price becomes a minor issue. The price may be slightly higher but a satisfied customer will continue doing business with you.

  15. I’m with you Shennan, we should be able to take service for granted, but it is so hard to come by these days. Look at grocery stores who are so focused on price. You have to purchase your own bag, in some cases pack it yourself and now self-checkout. I suppose charging us for the shopping cart will be next.

    Service by default is the ideal – common sense to you and me. But to some, lack of service is turning into a new profit-center. Sad really, but it also opens the door for some budding entrepreneur 🙂

  16. Thank you Shipu, I think you get what branding is all about – the relationship.

  17. ED ROACH, you have totally inspired me of small business branding. For a small business for them to achieve growth they must need to have a good brand image, which is eye-catching to their audience. And of course it must relate to the services the business provides. As an example , McDonald’s Corporation which is one of the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants. If you look at their brand, its simple, bright and eye-catching. It’s only a letter ‘M’ which stand’s for McDonald’s that is made by using French fries as a letter ‘M’ to sell their image to their target audience. If you think ahead, why would they call it an ‘M’? It could also stand for ‘money’ that is a most common business objective. There are other objectives that small businesses have, and they are survival, profit and expansion. All these objectives are important to businesses. McDonald’s must have achieved good relationship with their customers by adding value to their products, and sold them at a reasonable price that customers a willing to pay at. That’s all for now, thanks for posting this blog I really appreciate this.

  18. Competition isn’t so much about quality at all, only marketing – doubly so with products where quality isn’t so easy to measure, like soap.

  19. Mark, your brand image must reflect the entire brand, including its values. It is that perception of authenticity that resonates with customers. Thank you for your lengthy comment – a good discussion.

  20. Vic and SEO, you are right. If you can justify the higher price, then it allows customers to appreciate a better experience overall. No surprises due to poor quality which is actually cheaper in the long run. Cheaper price is usually a short term reward.

  21. Jamie, if both competing companies have identical products like soap (as you say)
    then it is branding that differentiates it by drawing on a positioning strategy that identifies it as a leader or the best at something. Marketing then steps in promotes this difference. You got me thinking 🙂

  22. James Eduard says:

    As a customer I refer to purchase cheap things but of good quality because i think quality really matters. even if the business is small as long as the quality is high that sounds good.

  23. You really have a good experience with that 25 years. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

    Sean

  24. Glad to inspire conversation Sean 🙂

  25. tuneup2011 says:

    I agree, there are individuals who prefer quality and not the price. Usually, goods with very low price comes with very low quality. So, it is still best to check on the quality of goods that you are about to buy.

  26. You know Tuneup, low price doesn’t really have to signify low quality. It’s just that if you feel you have to compete on price, you might want to take another tack – the high road. Package your offering so that it over-delivers. Then it is a price with a gold crown. You appear to be offering so much more.

  27. I agree with what you’ve shared. Competition is tough right now, so you must always be ready for it. You also have to come up with the right and reasonable prices to keep the business going.

  28. Thanks national.