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Why Are Price Buyers Sometimes Chameleons?

Once you’ve dealt with a customer on a particular transaction, it’s really easy to carry that singular experience forward into every other interaction with that customer.

For example, let’s say that the customer pushed hard for the absolute lowest price and was even willing to consider a stripped-down offering in order to get it. In this instance, it would be perfectly reasonable to deem them a true Price Buyer and respond accordingly.

No problems so far, right? You’ve correctly assessed the situation and as a result, you can take the appropriate steps to protect your margins.

But wait…there’s danger, Will Robinson…

In the most recent installment of our ongoing interview series with Nelson Hyde, Are They a Price Buyer or a Poker Player?, I learned that while it’s extremely important to understand the type of buyer you’re really dealing with, it’s dangerous to typecast that buyer moving forward.

According to Nelson, Price Buyers may not always be Price Buyers. Like chameleons, the same purchaser or company can become a different type of buyer, depending on the circumstances of the deal at-hand.

This week, when buying non-core or easily-sourced goods, the purchaser may indeed present themselves as a true Price Buyer. But next week, when looking to buy something else—something more differentiated and value-laden—that same purchaser may in-fact be a Value Buyer, Relationship Buyer, or more likely, a Poker Player (a Value or Relationship Buyer who’s just pretending to be a Price Buyer).

In the interview, Nelson then goes on to provide a number of insights and tips about what to look for—the “tells” and tests that can help you determine which specific type of buyer is presenting themselves. But once you learn these identification techniques, it’s important to use them to diagnose every transaction—even with the same customer.

Remember: Today’s Price Buyer could be tomorrow’s Relationship Buyer. And not recognizing that the chameleon has changed colors could cost you.

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