Our Books

Negotiating with Backbone

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Pricing with Confidence

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Holden Advisors Published Content

Holden Advisors' success is built on being years ahead of the industry in thought leadership. With Holden Advisors, you will have direct access to the thought leaders who are setting the Strategic Pricing agenda and will learn key ideas, trends, and methodologies well before other consultancies catch up.

We write the books that everyone else is reading.


“Negotiating with Backbone is part of our culture. We now truly understand the value of our services and know how to turn the negotiations table to our favor, regardless of the type of buyer we are facing.” –Rudy Ploder President USIS, Equifax
“The Backbone strategies and tools drive real change in sales execution because they have a true understanding of value to the customer.” –Lynn Guinn, Global Strategic Pricing Leader, FIS, Cargill
“Negotiating with Backbone, 2nd edition, comes with more fine-tuned insights – engaging, pragmatic, lucid and devoid of management jargon. It will take your thinking forward, help you craft winning pricing strategies, and arm you with negotiation tactics to better suit today’s highly competitive B2B settings.“ –Vishal Kumar, CEO & Entrepreneur, ACMECAST, New Delhi India

The difference in working with Holden Advisors lies in our success in implementing more effective pricing through the sales force.  We call this the last mile of pricing – that is the point in time when leveraging value and having a winning price negotiations approach yields price and profit improvement.  It works because sales people are confident in value.  This is because it is garnered from their own customers and the “fairness” of price is understood relative to competitors. It is that combination of analytical and qualitative information that forms the right pricing strategy that unites the sales, market, and pricing efforts for one, effective go-to-market strategy. 

Let's face it, many sales teams feel outmatched and overrun when negotiating with economic buyers. Procurement has emerged from the great recession as a clear winner.

In order to help clients deal with the new reality, Holden Advisors has developed a comprehensive training approach to arm sales teams to gain better results and more confidence in price negotiations. The program is based on 20+ years of research in B2B business buyer behavior.

Our Negotiating with Backbone program features:

    • 8 common buying scenarios and successful tactics to deal with each
    • Methodology to decode buyer behavior and the buying center
    • Quickly identify price buyers, value buyers, and poker players
    • 8 tactics to successfully defend your prices and value
    • Easily link to your existing sales methodology and playbook

Book Review

By Ron Baker

Reed Holden is my mentor, so I’m extremely biased. Still, this is a great book, especially for any firm pricer who has to deal with procurement, which Reed writes is the new normal. The final frontier of good pricing is the customer negotiation, and Reed explores this with verve, and an enormous amount of tacit knowledge accumulated from years as a salesman and pricing expert. 

He points out “that 80 percent of procurement managers give the other 20 percent a bad name.” I have to say, this has not been my experience with the procurement folks I’ve met, but that’s probably because I only deal in the professional sector, not with general procurement. 

What makes this book so useful is Reed documents all of the games procurement plays—from delays, waiting for the end-of-period discounts, to using vendors as “Rabbits” simply to drive down the price of the preferred vendor. There’s many effective tactics offered to deal with each of these scenarios.

And this advice needs to be shouted from the rooftop: read more...

Negotiating with Backbone Reader Quotes

“Procurement relief! Salespeople can unlock the mystery of  procurement price pressure and bidding wars for less than the price of a dinner. Negotiating with Backbone is the first negotiation book of its kind that doesn’t teach ‘manipulative tricks’–rather it focuses on winning strategies that turn into orders.  Buy it, read it, bank it.”

Jeffrey Gitomer, author, Little Red Book of Selling

“It comes as no surprise that evolving procurement organizations are placing increasing pressure on supplier salespeople. Holden distinguished among price, relationship, and value buyers; then offers down-to-earth practical approaches for successful business results. The entire sales organization will learn from Negotiating with Backbone; after all, Holden’s been there, done that!” 

Noel Capon, R.C. Kopf Professor of International Marketing, Columbia Business School; coauthor, Sales Eats First

“This is a must-read for sales, sales management, and even executive management. The recent evolution of procurement to negatively impact seller margins and therefore sales commissions with complex buying behaviors is real! Holden provides detailed steps to recognize and address these strategies and tactics to maximize profitability. More than a book, it’s a reference guide that should be at your fingertips to use daily to coach and mentor  the sales organization. It will with me.”

Lewis Miller, CEO and President, Qvidian

Co-founders of Holden Advisors, Dr. Reed Holden and Mark Burton, have released a thought-leading book that illuminates new pathways to pricing success. With ten simple rules, Pricing with Confidence demonstrates how managers can deliver both healthy profit margins and robust revenue growth while kicking their dreaded discounting habit. It’s a simple matter of linking the prices you charge to the value you deliver so your company can customize offerings for various types of buyers and differentiate your products from the competition.

Pricing with Confidence Reader Quotes

"A must read for everyone involved in our company's pricing operations, from new-hires to experienced pricing veterans. We use the 10 simple rules presented by Reed and Mark every day in an industry rife with cut-throat price discounters to extract maximum value out of every transaction. Pricing With Confidence clearly illustrated the pitfalls of some common, misguided pricing practices and armed us with the tools we needed to weed them out at Cypress. For those looking to take full advantage of the powerful multiplier effect that a disciplined pricing practice can have on your profits, Pricing With Confidence is a great place to start!"
-Ray Casey, Director of Pricing, Cypress Semiconductor

"Establishing 'go-to-market confidence' is one key lever in driving business results today, and Reed's work establishes the foundational layer for organizations that are serious about controlling their profit destiny."
-Thomas Jacobson, Global Managing Director Price and Profit Optimization, Accenture

"Pricing is the only 'P' of the four P's of marketing that impacts the bottom line directly, yet it's the least understood and focused on by business leaders. Pricing is so critical to a business, I now wonder why an entire course on the subject wasn't required (or offered) as part of my MBA!"
-Verne Harnish "Growth Guy," CEO Gazelles

"The Pricing Team at Maritz used a 'book report' approach by having each member of our team reporting on a chapter of Pricing with Confidence and highlighting the areas applicable to Maritz. We have used the book as a guide as we develop a strategic plan to improve pricing, heighten our focus on value to our clients, and improve the bottom line at Maritz."
-Alicia Behrndt, Vice President, Global Financial Services, Maritz Holdings Inc.

"Before reading Pricing with Confidence, we had the ability to set accurate rates. Now, with the aid of the ideas and strategies discussed in the book, we have the knowledge to use pricing as a competitive advantage to increase both revenue and profits."
-Chuck Meintel, Vice President - Unum US Pricing