Effectively Pushing Back

Regardless of the business that you are in, you deal with customers that expect—no demand—that you do something their way rather than how you normally conduct your business. They’ll say things like, “we need these three things done by next Tuesday, and it has to be for $____.” Or, “the other company quoted a price that was 30% less than yours, you’ll have to match it to keep the business.” I may be a question like, “why should we work with you, we have several choices?”

How do you, or your sales team, respond to these demands? Far too often we make commitments that are difficult to perform to, or work for substantially less than our real value. Let me suggest a different strategy: push back. The reality is that business is one big negotiation, a constant flow of give and take. Developing a new client relationship does not require you to lie down and get steamrolled. Here are some possible responses to the three situations described above:

  1. “I don’t do rush jobs, and I’m not cheap. I’m concerned with quality and results more than just getting something done for you. Other vendors can offer fast and cheap. If you want it done right the first time, and you’re willing to invest in that level of quality, perhaps we should talk.”
  2. “I’m happy to reduce my fee, but not without removing some of the value. Which parts of this project would you like me to remove?”
  3. “I’m not sure you should be working with me. What makes you think that I can help you reach your goal?”

Responses like these allow you to retain control of your business and time. They’re not confrontational, but compel the prospect to evaluate in a different way the value proposition that you offer. After all, it’s your business. If you’re not happy with the results you’re getting, it isn’t the clients fault, it’s yours!