All kinds of business interactions have at least two parties involved. To make revenue, all the parties involved pursue to generate value add as the product of every interaction. Yet, there are so many interactions that lead nowhere. Could that be improved anyhow?
Bartering at the market
Many such interactions are based on traditional and out-dated business culture practices. They don’t add value, and yet we follow them to the letter. Some of these classics are even counterproductive, yet, we find ourselves in doing what we despite.
Business engagements, especially cold contact sales, often follow old procedures. Someone reaches out to you out of the blue and wants to sell you something. Or you are proactive and ask them what a product or service would cost.
Then we barter and haggle over the price and the product like at the market in a medieval setting. The people keep on arguing the price. No matter what you offer, they want it for less. And there are phone calls, presentations, emails and a lot of effort around agreeing on something. As the sheer unviable discounts are not carrying business, the person who seeks to sell improvises.
I just throw away all my calculations and put a price tag on my product that is twice as large as it would need to be. Then you get asked for a discount, and after pretending, you’ll give them some percentage off or maybe even a lot. Who cares? You doubled up the price, so there’s a lot of room for numbers that are all higher than what you needed to ask for.
How could we do it better?
Instead of all this waste of time and words, we could all just be honest when doing business. Your product is great, and you have a price that is competitive enough to make a case. You’re transparent about how that product works and how the cost was developed and give an offer.
The prospect will then carefully evaluate your offering and either accepts it or rejects it for whatever the reasons might be (they could not afford it). What efficient business we all could make like that. Honesty, transparency, and fairness would lead to long lasting relationships and as we said above – such business transactions are by design beneficial for all involved parties, and therefore they grow and become more successful over time.
If we stop asking to get something cheaper, you’ll eventually at some point be presented with the proper fair pricing. If we stop asking for discounts, we’ll settle the deal a lot faster, without days and weeks of delay and that ultimately saves money as well. The time for email ping pong and conference calls is nowhere listed. It’s not on a single bill.
If you talked about a deal for weeks or months, you probably lost a lot of your money on the way and didn’t save anything at all. Your time is a currency as well.
Those who take it one step further
What comes now is a theory, and I don’t recommend it to any kind of operations. Yet, you might find it disruptive or at least intriguing.
The counter conception to fight discount business culture is to put a price increase to every bit of interaction that unnaturally extended the required work to get to closure. For every email and every percent that is asked to be reduced from the bill, you add a handling fee to the bill.
I told you, time is money. So why would anyone just give away minutes, hours, days, weeks or even months away just for free along with whatever they might buy or not? Professionals charge for their time, why wouldn’t you?
A curious idea to say the least.
Being honest saves a lot of time. It doesn’t mean that you have to be rude, but a certain clarity around facts help business decisions. I tell you what it costs and you can either accept it or not. Let’s not cling on etiquette for the sake of business tradition.
I’m nice, you’re nice. I want to make money and so do you. Does the price work for you? This is a matter of one minute and shouldn’t be dragged into multiple engagements or span a variety of individuals.
Certainly you can’t always apply it. Maybe you don’t want to run a transparent sales operation. Perhaps you can’t do it for whatever reason. The only thing I ask for is: Could we do this better?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Please use the comment section below for a conversation. Thank you for reading.
Photo credit: Skaja Lee / Allan Rotgers / Johnny Silvercloud / Ivan Malafeyev