Is Sales Myopia Utopia?
Original Post: July 26, 2016
Did you ever lose a deal because what you were selling was “too expensive?” If not, have you ever purchased something because it was the cheapest? I’ve done both, and each time the decision turned out to be short-sighted and painful.
In my ill-fated “economy buy,” the problem was poor quality that caused me to make additional purchases totaling significantly more than the higher-priced, better quality alternative I initially decided against. In the lost sale scenario, my prospect opted for a lower-priced, less-capable competitor that could deliver some of what they needed, but not everything. After several weeks of disappointment and trying to force their new tool to do things it wasn’t meant to do, they came back to us and gladly paid our price. In both cases, “price” was confused for “value”…and both outcomes were my fault. In one I failed to effectively communicate our value; in the other I failed to recognize it.
Funny thing about humans—we’re generally quick to rationalize emotions, but slow to logically evaluate the entire circumstance. This has been at the cornerstone of most of our political, social, and economic decisions as long as...well...as long as we've made political, social, and economic decisions. Unfortunately, it’s not going to change anytime soon--I mean, we’re battling human nature here. Nonetheless, (or perhaps “especially because of this”?) I hope you’ll take something away from the pain I experienced learning these lessons. One of my favorite companies in the world, Saddleback Leather Company (www.saddlebackleather.com) summarizes the takeaway perfectly: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” Mind you, “poor quality” can look like many things: something that is cheaply built, or something that forces you to compromise, or even something that doesn’t truly meet all of your needs…or maybe even all three. In any case, when it comes time to evaluate your needs for anything—from a house to a spouse to an enterprise software solution—remember this lesson and take the time to do a full measure of your needs vs. available alternatives. You may pay a little more up front, but it will always be worth it in the long run.
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