Do NOT DROP the Price of Your Embroidery
We talk with NNEP (National Network of Embroidery Professionals) members and many other embroidery and apparel decoration business owners on a daily basis. One of the conversations that comes up nearly daily is some variation on the theme, "My customer is asking me to lower my price, what do I do?"
Here is an example... Christine has been in business for more than 20 years and been a member of NNEP for just as long. She knows how to run her business successfully. This is her story:
I always notified my regular cusstomers when I planned time off about 2 (or more) months ahead of time. This last time, the customer simply forgot. She called me days before I was leaving & asked if I could turn another order out. I said no because I was leaving town and the logistics were not possible. She was not happy. She ended up using someone else.
I have done work for this customer for seven years. Sometimes she orders a few dozen things, sometimes the order is for a few hundred things. Over time, I standardized her pricing, so that no matter what she ordered, she paid the same price for the embroidery, no matter how many or how few pieces were in the order. We were both good with this approach as it really simplified her life. I turned the orders quickly and accurately, with top quality embroidery, every single week, for YEARS.
While I was away and after using another business, she said she suspected that I was overcharging her. She wanted me to requote an order. I simply could not do it. I was out of town and had the stomach flu and extended my time away by just one day. I returned home, not knowing what she expected. She called and asked about my pricing. I said I would get back to her.
What should I do - should I lower my prices?
I decided to call Jennifer because at this point in my business I feel confident in my abilities. Jennifer coached me and helped me script an email."
After chatting with Christine, here is what I advised:
DO NOT Lower your pricing. You are worth no less this week than you were 3 weeks ago!
If the customer wants the highest level of quality work, customer service, and efficiency, which you have provided for years, she pays top dollar for the premium level work and service you offer.
I helped Christine craft an email to this customer to respond to the questions posed in a professional and courteous manner. I asked Christine to hit the SEND button while we were on the call, mainly because I did not want her to edit it, or worse, not send it.
I badgered Christine into sending it immediately because she had initially started the email with, "I sorry, but... I am going to maintain my prices as quoted through the end of the year..." I asked her to remove the apology, as she had nothing to apologize for!
We crafted an email that outlined the benefits the customer experienced when working with Christine. She was not allowed to add anything about the other business, or apologize, or sell herself and her business short. We worked with the message until it was a clean, spot-on response that she could live with, so she finally hit SEND even though I could tell she was hesitant to do so. This a long term customer that has been good for her business and this felt pretty risky, even bold to hold the line on her established pricing in the face of local competition.
Not even five minutes later, Christine called back!
The customer reconsidered and wanted to bring the next order to Christine immediately, that afternoon. The customer realized that she preferred to work with Christine, based on their relationship and the quality of the work, and how easy Christine made it for her. I am rather sure there was even a comment along the lines of, "When I really looked at it, it turns out I was not getting a better deal from the other guy, and, well, you are just BETTER!"
When a customer asks you about lowering your price, you do not need to comply. If you have not raised your prices in a while, in more than a year, let the customer know that is their discounted rate, since it has not been raised. If they ask you to price match, you do not need to do so. You have no idea if that other business is profitable or underwater. You have no idea of they are paying themselves a reasonable wage, or not paying themselves a dime. Another shop's pricing as no bearing on your business, your profitability, your prices!
Give us a call if you find yourself in a situation like this, and we will help you create a professional response that keeps you and your business in position as their best solution, even if you are more expensive.