Writing off the Cheap Talk
Getting sucked into a price war with a competitor can happen with any promotion or product, but there are some instances where it's more likely than others. While pens and other writing instruments may not be the most likely items, compared to say buttons or golf tees, they are by no means the least likely either. Writing instruments have plenty of inherent traits, such as how they tend to be sold in huge quantities or how they are often manufactured overseas, that make it more probable you may end up arguing with a customer about nickels and dimes.
Once that discussion starts, business can get ugly quickly. Before you know it, you're looking at a situation where both you and your competitor are making no money, your services are being devalued, and your client is getting a substandard product. To avoid this lose-lose situation, below are seven tips on rising above a price war from some of the most experienced writing instrument suppliers in the industry.
1) Sell the Experience
One of the biggest steps you can take to avoid a price war is to present your pens as part of a marketing program, instead of just as a logoed product. "A distributor's best opportunity to avoid a price war is by selling an integrated solution rather than just the product itself," said Kristie Schnier, national director of sales and marketing, Sanford Business-to-Business, Oak Brook, Ill. "Service and the 'value proposition' are very important, and when the distributor focuses on the entire experience, it becomes difficult or impossible for the end-user to bid on price alone." Tie your pens and products to a larger campaign, offer a few ways to measure ROI, and watch your commodity woes slip away.
2) Consider the Value of Name Brands