If you still struggle daily with low price competitors, here are a couple of mantras for your wall:
1. At any given time, SOMEONE can do it for less.
This means that despite your best efforts, another bidder or rival for the project at hand could easily trump your low price. They may do so because they made a mistake (isn’t that how you won that big job last year?), don’t care about profit, or have secret, unfair advantage that you just don’t understand. What is more likely is that they know HOW to do it for less, but if the other excuses help you sleep at night then please use them. The fact is you cannot always be the low bidder, and you probably don’t want to.
2. At any given time, there is always something more important than price.
Regardless of what the buyer may tell you, the only time a low bid is appealing is when the other most important issue has been addressed. Consider the extreme, if the low bidder is incompetent or otherwise inadequate for the project – they can and will be rejected. If they are not rejected, then maybe your assessment of their suitability (and therefore your opinion of where you fit in) was wrong.
I often teach sales folks to focus on the second or third most important thing to the customer. In today’s economy, it’s unpopular to have anything but price as most important. Quality or suitability comes in second (but really, that’s probably their most important criteria!). If everyone addresses only the biggest two issues, the proposals will all look the same. There may even be a third criteria that the decision-maker values, but is uncomfortable emphasizing. Maybe the third priority is something you are uniquely qualified to offer. DO IT!
Don’t be the low bidder. Check.
Do address the buyer’s second criteria. Check.
Put the force of your value proposition into the tiebreaker. What have you got to lose?