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Top-Shelf Tip No. 70:

"The most important adage and the only adage is, the customer comes first."

Kerry Stokes

Six Tips To Inform Customers Of A Price Increase

Price increases are part of doing business. Still, it can be nerve-wracking to communicate price hikes to customers. You don't want to alienate them, make them angry or lose their business altogether, especially if the customer has loyally purchased from you for years.

HubSpot writer Swetha Amaresan says it's essential that salespeople handle a price increase quickly and authentically to ensure that customers understand the situation and are willing to stick with you through it. We feature Amaresan's six tips for sharing news of a price increase in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Announce the price increase directly to your customers. You'd probably be pretty angry if your Spotify Premium bill increased from $9.99 to $14 per month without your knowledge or consent. Don't make your customers find out about a price hike by surprise. Go through your customer list and let each one know about the change. Amaresan says it's always a nice touch to address each letter to each individual customer to personalize the process.

2. Let customers know in advance. Give your customers plenty of time to come to terms with the price increase. Depending on their situation, they may need to consider alternative options or reassess their budget. Be respectful and inform them as soon as you know the price increase is going into effect. Amaresan recommends encouraging them to place one or more orders of the same product before prices go up.

3. Remind them that higher prices could mean better quality. Customers don't always understand why higher prices are necessary, especially if they've been buying the same product from you for months or years. This makes it crucial to stress the importance of product quality. Products usually increase in price to match higher operating costs, new hires or increases in materials costs. To ensure the same level of quality, sometimes you have to raise the price.

4. Explain why the prices went up. To reinforce that you're raising prices to maintain the quality of the product or service, explain what caused the price increase. Being upfront with your customers proves your willingness to be transparent.

5. Ensure that your entire organization knows about the price increase. Before you announce a price hike to customers, make sure all employees are aware of the situation. Everyone should be on the same page in terms of cost difference, the reasoning and the logistics moving forward. This allows your company to carry a consistent voice.

6. Allow customers to contact you with further questions or concerns. Make yourself available to provide any information customers might need. If they don't get the answers they seek, they might turn to a competitor with lower prices. Amaresan encourages sales leaders to reassure customers they can always reach out to anyone in the organization with questions or concerns that arise regarding the price increase.

Talking to your customers about a price increase is never an easy conversation, but it still needs to happen. Be upfront with your customers, give them plenty of lead time and remain confident in the price increase.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Swetha Amaresan is a writer who contributes articles for the HubSpot Service Blog.