Let me guess.

Your competitors are killing you on price. Your margins are shrinking to the vanishing point as customers challenge you to meet or beat the lowest price available for the goods or services you sell. Your company’s profits are taking a hit. If margin based commissions play a role in your compensation, your own wallet is taking a hit. And that’s true even if your sales volume is up, you’re gaining more clients, and you’re working harder.

Your company has tried to differentiate its goods or services with guarantees, “partnership” programs, and other value-add strategies to let you compete on some basis other than price. But so have your competitors. Their value-add strategies look almost as much like yours as their products do. Like almost all goods and services, these strategies, too, have become commodities. Even if you come up with a tactic that is genuinely new and different, competitors can quickly copy it. And your customers go right back to hammering you on price. Month after month, year after year, the price pressure increases.

You feel trapped in a race to the bargain basement, with no way out. That’s depressing enough to begin with. But it gets worse. Since ultimately there can be only one price leader in any industry, you’re going to lose the race — unless your entire business strategy is built upon being the lowest-cost provider. Which it isn’t. Meanwhile, your margins continue to shrink.

How am I doing? Did I guess right? If so, you’re going to be awfully glad you bought this book. It offers hope. It shows you an exit door that can let you escape the race to the bargain basement. And if you’re in sales, you need to escape, believe me, because here’s a thought that is even more chilling:

If the customer’s buying decision is only about price, what do companies need salespeople for? There are a lot of cheaper ways to present customers with a low-price offer, or to match the competition’s prices, than to pay a sales force to do it. If salespeople cannot add some value to the equation that justifies a higher price in the customer’s mind, then salespeople are just additional overhead. If it’s all about price, salespeople are dinosaurs, doomed to extinction by the Internet, direct mail, radio, television, and other forms of advertising and communication.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, you’re holding an insurance policy right now…

Duane Sparks

About Duane Sparks

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).