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Sugarcoat Your Next Training Price Increase.

The Cassandras and the Chicken Littles have had their say. But you've decided to increase the price of your training offerings anyway. So what's the best way to let customers in on the not-so-good news?

A. Resist issuing that "we've held on as long as we can in the face of relentless increases in our cost of doing business" press release. Yuck, what do you want, a medal? Get real, a 5% or even a 10% weighted average price increase in your training offerings isn't the end of the world for most of your customers, and it borders on narcissistic self absorption for you to suggest it. Chances are your terms and conditions allow you to raise prices anytime. So consider simply going ahead with only a courtesy notification to your sales organization.

B. If you feel you must go public, combine the bad news with some good news and announce "new prices." Even as you raise unit prices on your popular mainstay offerings, introduce some new products at a special introductory rate. Throw in a sale on that aging curriculum you're about to upgrade. Point out the significant savings available if customers take greater advantage of your new e-learning offerings (assuming you're not a 100% e-learning company). Hold the line on delivery options where the customer bears part of the burden, e.g. on-sites.

C. Consider using some of the bounty from higher unit prices to fund more generous provisions in your volume purchase plans. Look at adding more volume purchase thresholds, increasing volume discounts and building in more value adders. Why? Because high volume opportunities are where the price competition is. This way you can have your cake and eat it too.

D. Whatever you do, consider offering your current customers a safety net. Honor all training orders placed before a generous deadline at the old price -- even if the training itself doesn't take place for a matter of months. Then stand back as your salespeople rush out of their cubicles to urge customers to purchase "before it's too late." You'd almost think you were putting your training on sale!

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