Mar 8, 2011
The other day, a friend of mine went to Office Max to buy some paper for his office. When he arrived, he realized that this would be an interesting purchase because of the various options that were available to him by Mr. Max himself.
As he perused the aisles, he thought to myself, “I want to get the paper that doesn’t soak up all the ink so the ink last longer (ink is super expensive over the long haul)”. About the time, he found that paper that would do a really great job of not soaking up extra ink, he realized that paper was stupid expensive!
Back to the drawing board he went searching for the right value. After some time wandering, he found a great product from a reputable company that wasn’t perfect at any one aspect of paper. It was just decent paper at a good price and lots of decent paper for that good price – so he bought it.
Why do we have a tendency to have unrealistic expectations when we go to make purchases? This happens in business, relationships, ecclesiastical endeavors, and pretty much anywhere there are humans.
Recently an article about dating and marriage revealed the following idea about selecting a mate that you may want to pay attention to:
Now, whether you agree with this triangle or not, you must agree that for most people this is a reality – we can’t expect everything from those around us whether those people are our closest friends or the business that we patronize. If we took this idea about relationships (which is super hilarious by the way) and applied it to small business in America, perhaps it would look something like this:
The next time you are making a purchase (large or small), why not dive in deep enough to find out where the vendor feels like they stand in regards to this triangle. Why not ask, “Hey vendor, are you guys the cheapest in town, the fastest in town, or the best in town?” Wait for the answer. If the vendor is smart perhaps he will begin to explain his unique selling proposition and explain his position in the marketplace which is likely NEVER all three of these attributes. Lexus never has tried to be cheap. Wal-Mart has never claimed to be the highest quality. People don’t believe companies or individuals who claim perfection any more than they believed Barry Bonds about steroids.
Perhaps the point is this – we have to decide what we are willing to give up and decide what is most important to us when we make decisions and purchases. For example, at Innovation Simple, we try to be the most thorough, strategic, and custom solution on the market and yet still be affordable solution for our clients (but never the cheapest). We can’t be the cheapest – it’s against our nature. We have found the best ways to do everything and that’s the value that we being to the table. In the end, we feel like we are extremely well priced for the value we bring to our clients but we could never be the cheapest way to get a web page online. FYI – No one but Wal-Mart has ever succeeded at being the cheapest provider ever and been extremely successful.
Hence, it never is about the money – its always about the value.
Listen to this example of this value that we speak of. Last year I attended a follow up phone conference with a company that I had given a proposal to. We are up against all the biggest fish in our space (literally all of them) and then the phone call went something like this, “The proposal you guys gave us was spot on. It was exactly what we needed to see. We just felt like you understand us better than any other company we have talked to in this bid process. The Innovation Simple was so much better than all the other proposals that it wasn’t even a decision – it was clearly obvious.” I might add, that the proposal wasn’t any more expensive either. I am sure there were cheaper proposals out there and more expensive ones as well, but it wasn’t about the money – it was about the value and how well the client felt like we understood them. If that proposal would have been twice the price, we probably wouldn’t have gotten the job because the value would not have been there. Its about he combination of the 3 elements shown above. Here is a quote from a prospective client just a couple of hours after I left his office, “I really got excited about the possibilities we talked about — and feel assured by your confidence that I may have found the team I need to get these “pipe dreams” to happen. I look forward to the quote.” Its about the value that prospective clients see. Our approach at Innovation Simple is custom; it is a partner approach and not a ‘contract work’ approach.
Next time you go to make a purchase, survey the situation and find the company that best understands your needs so that no matter what price you pay, the value remains extremely high.