We’ve all done it. In our desire to give 100% customer satisfaction, we spend a ridiculous amount of time with a client that really isn’t looking for a quality product as much as they are looking for a certain price. We call it “bargain hunting”, “price shopping” or “looking for a deal” but, the bottom line – these individuals take up a lot of time and the results are not necessarily rewarding.
“We compromise our product or service when we lower the price without regard to the quality we provide.”
Depending on the industry, we may go through a few rounds of negotiations with the price of a product or service. Once a price has been agreed upon, we can move that client into the “purchase” phase. Or, we lose our mind trying to please them too much, spending a long time in the “bargain hunting” phase and then, they either walk away or become the client from HELL.
I try very hard to work with my customers. I have worked in industries that demand the best customer service: medical, hospitality, financial, entertainment and retail. I have always worked in a capacity of helping and sometimes saving clients. There are some scenarios with amazing results and some with depressing outcomes. I have seen people at their best and some at their worst, but no matter the situation I have always put my best foot forward.
One lesson I learned years ago is – sometimes you have to “let the client go” – and this can be done by sticking to your quality standards. People perceive a certain quality in a price and I see this in two areas:
1. As a business owner, I set a specific price for my services. If I am busy, I stick to my pricing and know that my clients are paying a fair amount for my services. If I am not that busy or looking to gain a certain client, I might negotiate my price. Sometimes it allows me to work with new and interesting clients, other times, it gives me a few more headaches. When I compromised my price, I compromise what I am truly worth.
Talk to businesses who have used discount programs to bring in new customers. A number of them will tell you it was rewarding and the others will say it almost put them out of business. Break-even pricing with customers, who would not normally use your products or services at the regular price, bring frustration for you, hard feelings amongst your employees as well as harsh customer reviews.
2. As a business consultant, I see many small businesses cut their price to get a customer, knowing that they weren’t making any money. The rational: “Well, at least I’m working.” At the end of the day, they might be working but they still can’t pay their bills. It’s important to set a fair price for the quality of your product or service. Keep on top of industry standards and what your competition is charging, this will help keep your pricing in line. You don’t always want to be the cheapest, cheap doesn’t necessarily signify quality. Depending upon the type of client you are looking for, sticking to your price can be hard when work is slow.
Deep down, we always want to do our best for our clients and customers. We want them to have an AMAZING customer experience, but sometimes you can’t “bargain hunt” for QUALITY.