BNet, which is heavily focused on sales, has a couple helpful posts on pricing.
Three Successful Pricing Strategies for a Downturn urges you to react quickly when necessary, but don’t hurt the long term to save the short term, and avoid price wars.
Another useful tip is to think about how to unbundle some of your offerings so that cash-strapped customers can still get some of the value your company provides without paying full price, but, and this is the important part, they have to give up something as well. If done effectively, this keeps them as a happy and profitable customer.
And what do you say when customers push back on price? Here are 12 possible responses, courtesy of sales guru Barry Rhein. (Here’s an earlier post on the subject of handling price objections— the concept that not everyone is actually a qualified prospect is a critical one. The sooner you can know that while the prospect might like your product, they cannot afford it, the sooner you can move on to somone who can, and the less effort you will spend destroying your brand value with excess discounting.
Discounting is the bane of profitability, and the brand it degrades isn’t just your corporate brand. Discounting, especially at the end of a sale cycle to get the close, makes it seem as if you were trying to cheat the customer and only gave them the “real” price because they bargained you down. Your “brand” is the one that suffers the most.