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Price Versus Cost

For a few years, I had been putting off a major decision to replace the windows in my house. Living in the hurricane belt, there are products that you can buy that can help with this tropical weather dilemma. It was not that my current windows were in bad shape, to the contrary, I had only put them in about a dozen years before. But they were not impact resistant or rated to 140 mph to protect against flying debris in a storm. Furthermore, new windows would allow me to avoid manually putting up Hurricane Shutters every time the Weather Channel began its marathon coverage of the next storm to hit my state.

With that, I did what most people do. I obtained three quotes from providers for the project. Each one came to my house and pitched me their solution and provided me with an estimate for the job. The three prices were relatively close, separated by about $1,800 from high to low. I promptly selected the highest bidder and scheduled the job. But why?

Often as sellers, we are asked by our prospects and clients about our price for the product we are selling. I don’t suppose you have ever heard this. (Sarcasm) “So, what is your price?” If I got a penny for every time I have heard that request, I would have amassed a small fortune. This very phrase should not have a paralyzing effect. We should not believe that if we don’t give the price, that we will lose the sale. Maybe asking for the price is just a habit of the buyer when the lowest price may not be the sole condition of their purchase.

So, why did I choose the highest bidder on my project? After analyzing the three bids, I discovered the higher price included everything I wanted and would need going forward, such as maintenance on the windows if something might happen. The company, a well-known brand, has also been in business for years. And in my opinion, is very likely to be there, five to ten years from now. Also, the winning bidder was clear to indicate the days they would arrive for the project and how long it would take them. Their installers would have identification and be checked on by a supervisor while the job was in progress. I would also be assigned a Service Manager for the project, that should I have any last-minute changes, they would be only a phone call away. None of the other bidders had anything close to this type of service and struggled in one case to even get me the quote. So, although the other providers had a lower price, the cost to install their windows over time would be greater in time, energy, and my ability to work them around my business schedule. The decision was, therefore, simple.

In today’s selling world, do you sometimes find yourself in this position? Are you defending price when the cost is an entirely different thing? In this buying instance, the three sellers should have asked me what was important to me. They did not. As sellers, we have to make sure that when we are asked for a price we avoid capitulation. Our greatest fear is that if we do not immediately quote a price or are not the lowest price, we will lose the sale. Sure, it is true that some buyers are price conscious and will always look for the cheapest option available to them. Our obligation as sellers is to take the buyer through the value of our product and or service and justify what we might charge. Today, buyers are better informed, the internet has pretty much guaranteed that. In my buying case, the sellers did not know that I had received quotes from other vendors. Another miss on their part was to identify my alternative options. Therefore, by not doing so, the winning bidder had no idea I had other prices to compare against theirs. So, even though I chose the high price, I was still able to get a little break on the deal to my satisfaction.

In the end, thinking a little bit like a buyer and not like the seller may help us close the deals a little easier. Hurricane season starts June 1st. From then until November 30th, I will be keeping one eye on the Weather Channel. Let’s hope that those impact windows don’t see a storm to test if they are worth what I paid for them.

Roger McNamara Bio:

Roger is a 25+-year veteran of the Payments Industry, most recently as the Director of Business Development with American Express in the US. He has worked on the largest Acquisition targets for acceptance across multiple industries and across the globe that include Airlines, Communications, Technology, Cruise Lines, Entertainment, Fractional Jet, Freight, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Oil & Gas, Residential Rent, Restaurants, QSR’s, Retail, Services, Supermarkets, Travel, Vehicle Sales, B2B and Wholesale. Over that time, he has sold more than $300 Billion worth of Card processing and became an expert in Bankcard Interchange and Discount Rates, how they are calculated and what merchants pay to accept Credit, and how this is dramatically different from what they believe they pay. He is an expert in Merchant Statement analysis and payment processing and the rules and regulations associated with payments and associations. Roger has also developed the insight for Merchant Services Salesforces and salesforces, in general, to be able to better position their products and gain share, particularly in B2B. Let him show you how you can too. He can be reached at

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