In Sales, Face It…It All Comes Down to Price

This is an open letter LeBron James style that I am writing through this blog post. LeBron chose Sports Illustrated and my choice is Printing Impressions.

You see this title and know it is true. You tell me this all over the country. You see, in 2014, printing sales is quite simple as it all comes down to who has the lowest price. If you get your pricing tight, then you have a chance of winning some business. If you cannot do this, then buyers will not consider you. It is all about price and you must feel like a robot order taker. Are you feeling better about your sales now?

Not so fast, as there is something else I need to mention.

The goal was to get your attention as we have the focus of gold fish (about 8 seconds). Friends, this “all about price” statement is absolutely and unequivocally false. If you are selling on price and this is what separates you from your competition—you should be concerned! Thus, you must immediately learn how to differentiate yourself or get out of this business.

You see, what it all comes down to is value. What is value? Value = Your price + YOU + Your company’s services/offerings that go above and beyond the norm. So, you ask, does price play a role? You bet. However, it is just part of the equation.

Someone has the ear of your prospect or client. Is it you? Someone is telling them your price is too high, so you will go away. It is true that in some cases, a buyer is only concerned about the bottom line price and nothing more. Note: move on from such prospects/customers.

Let me share one more thing with you as I get to see a lot. There are many companies that are making a ton of money in this industry. And they are not selling on price. In contrast, there are many who are barely making it and differentiate themselves based on price.

Ryan T. Sauers is president of Sauers Consulting Strategies and spent nearly 20 years leading printing and promotional product companies prior to founding the firm. The organization consults with printing and promotional product related companies across the country, helping them grow the front end of their organization. Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and is the author of the top-selling book “Everyone Is in Sales”, with another book in the works.  He is a Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator and DiSC Practitioner and Certified Marketing Executive. Ryan writes national feature articles and speaks at national conferences on such topics as sales, marketing, communications, leadership, organizational strategy and social media. He is also an adjunct university professor. More info at
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  • Jerry

    Great post Ryan. If we are to grow as an industry we must stay away from selling us price. Thanks. Jerry

  • Steve Elving, cpp, cps

    I have to agree just recently I was looking for HIGH-END business cards. Ended up paying a great price but I wanted them offset printed on very expensive paper and wanted the Look and feel i was looking for I didn’t even look at the price once a Printing company came up with the services and product I wanted.

  • Dan Dykstra

    Great post, Ryan! It’s really frustrating as a printer to price a project competitively without giving the job away…and then getting a response back saying how much they appreciate your time but they have decided to go with a “lower bid”. It makes you appreciate the customers that are more interested in service and the relationship.

  • Paul Gardner

    Ryan, I see three levels of price sensitivity:

    Price is everything.

    Price is important, but so are other factors.

    Price is unimportant.

    My experience is that most printing falls into the “Price is Important” category, and that’s where I’d put most of my time and effort.

    As you suggest, the “Price is Everything” category is toxic.

    But when you find a “Price is Unimportant” opportunity, give it your full attention and all of your energy. Work hard to build a solid relationship, treat the customer fairly, and amazing things can happen.