How do I deal with people who want to argue about price?

One way is through education. Most people don’t know what goes into decorating a shirt, making a transfer, or embellishing a cap. Show them the process and the steps you go through to make their product come alive. Show them the machines you use for printing or stitching. Mention the supplies it takes, the webinars you watch, and the seminars you’ve paid to expand your knowledge. Give your customers a glimpse into the time you’ve invested into being good at what you do. People are more comfortable and willing to compensate decorators who know what they’re doing-the experts.

Another technique is to get the “why” behind the price objection. Are they working with a budget that’s unrealistic? Did they find someone doing it cheaper? If you can find out why they’re objecting you can address the issue. In some cases, you’ll find out that it isn’t worth changing their mind and the job is best for the cheaper guy down the street. If you have all the details, you can make an informed decision.

“The guy down the street (or online) will do it cheaper” tactic is a standard method of pursuing a lower price in any industry. When this is used on you, the first question to ask is: Why didn’t you go with the guy down the street? Of course, it must be in a non-confrontational way. Typically, if a customer is coming to you after finding a lower price somewhere else, they either have some reservations about the other shop, or they’re hoping to spin you a tale that will make you go lower.

Shops might also come across a person or group who wants a print job donated or who wants to pay for the job in “exposure.” There are times when jobs of these kinds can be beneficial, but make sure to examine them carefully before you give them a yes. Who will be seeing the work you’re doing, and is this your customer base? How many people will be exposed to your work? What would be the cost of the work if it were paid for, and how does the value of the offer measure up? Will this job generate goodwill among new potential customers? Not all barter or “exposure” jobs are bad, but it pays to do the digging before you agree to any deals.

Finally, don’t forget your secret weapon in price negotiations-your absolute rock bottom price. If you have that price calculated for every product ahead of time, then you know how much wiggle room you have to work with.



Kristine Shreve

Kristine is the founder and CEO of Kristine Shreve Consulting which offers writing, marketing and business development services. Kristine is also the creator and host of the Business + Women podcast, where the discussion centers around being a woman business owner. She blogs on her webiste, as well as and On Facebook, Kristine is the founder of the Women in Garment Decoration Facebook group. Kristine was the director of marketing for Ensign Emblem and EnMart from 2006 to April 2020.

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