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Interesting post. I guess that there are a couple of key points here:

  1. Sell on value, not on price;
  2. Don’t bag the competition.

I often choose service providers based upon perception of value (which, in many cases, amounts to my personal assessment of the salesperson’s character – is this person honest? Do I trust them? How do I think that they will react if something goes wrong and I need them to fix it?). As a purchaser I am acutely aware that the cheapest price is not always cheapest in the long run.

My business is built on the idea that people will pay for quality and value. My heritage in the IT consulting industry convinced me that there is no future in commodity business (unless it’s really big business). Smaller businesses, IMHO, need to move to the margins of their space where they can occupy niches which command price premia large enough to cover the lack of economies of scale.

Discounting? Why would I want to discount? Why would I want to choose to be twice as busy to make the same amount of money?

When selling on behalf of my business I often make the point very early in the conversation that we are a value sell, not a price sell. I quite often tell prospective customers that if they are buying on price I would be very happy to refer them to one of my competitors, who will be able to offer them a lower quality product at a price that suits them. It is not often that people take me up on this offer.

This is not meant to be a statement of arrogance. It is simply a recognition of our positioning in our market – we are a super-premium product. If you’re not buying what I’m selling, I would prefer that we don’t waste each other’s time and I’m quite happy to refer you to a competitor who will sell you what you actually want to buy.