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 editor’s forum

“Sure, We’ll Match That Internet Price”




on’t you wish you could make your discount-seeking customer happy AND make what you’re worth? Here’s why you can’t.

It’s because we as specialists are sissies. The

industry at large sets a price for a product or service. This is done by Internet sellers, stack n’ sell warehouses, etc., that tout the lowest price anywhere, and the customer perceives this is THE price. Then you get shopped and asked if you’ll match the price. Your choices? Match the price and eat the cost, or walk the business. You can’t compete with Internet sellers because you don’t have the buying power. You have more relative overhead. There are a ton of reasons. And here’s why we’re sissies: Because we don’t

put a value on our intangibles. Your 25 years of experience doing one thing. Your ability to do the job in 45 minutes based on your experience. The staff you have on hand to take the job in, and the supplies you purchased so the customer doesn’t have to wait. The fact that a customer can come back and meet with you and your staff if there is a problem. The ability of a customer to pick up the phone and reach a person who remembers them. That stuff. We bundle them up into a single price that we

get beat over the head with every time someone comes in with a different price. The Internet is teaching everyone that everything should be free: free apps, free phones, etc. As a result, customers place little value on what it takes to actually make a product or sell it ... unless you tell them. Remember your last hotel bill? It didn’t just say: “Room - 1 night - $149” did it? It went on to item- ize every aspect of your stay: Room Tax, Cleaning Fee, Remote Control, Internet Access, Resort Fee; even Energy Surcharge. Hotels aren’t going to eat the additional costs of things that come up in business. At the same time, they are going to show these costs to the customer in a way he or she can see them and judge the value. So why aren’t we doing the same thing? You want

to match Internet pricing? Here’s how you can. You negotiate on the pricing of the product based on how much margin you are willing to play with. BUT YOU DON’T NEGOTIATE ON ANYTHING ELSE. Every other aspect of your service carries a fixed cost. Each has a benefit to the customer and it should be presented that way. So when you’re showing a customer pricing, you give him your version of the hotel bill:

Need advice on competing against the Internet? Stop eating costs you shouldn’t, and stay at a hotel.

• Product Charge: “Here is what we’re willing to sell you the product for based on how closely we can match your price. However, we want you to come back, and so we’ve invested in building our business to provide you the ultimate service experience. So whether you install with us or not, we have these fixed costs in place so that we can be available to you anytime you need our services.” • Expertise Charge: “We have 25 years of

experience working on cars like yours. We know what works and what doesn’t, and we can help you select the right product to both fit your car and make your driving experience better. Our expertise also gives us the ability to do the job faster and with no damage to your car. If there’s a problem, you have experts here who can fix it. And we are so sure you’ll be happy that we’ll warranty the work for life.” • Facility Charge: “We want you to bring your car to a place where you know it will be protected and safe while it’s in our care, and where we can have ample space to house and use the best tools and equipment to work on your car. We also want you to have the ability to physically test the prod- ucts and experience them before you buy, and wait comfortably if you like.” • Accessories Charge: “We painstakingly select the highest-quality wiring, connectors and installa- tion accessories to ensure that your product works as intended, for as long as it’s installed. And we keep ample stock so that you don’t have to wait for us to order parts and accessories.” • Staff Charge: “We want to ensure that there is someone here to answer the phone when you call so that you feel comfortable doing business with us. And when you call or come by, you’ll always see the same staff that knows you, your car and its characteristics.”

“So you see, we can match (or come close to) the

Internet price on the product, and even though the total you’ll pay with us is more than buying a product form a nameless company on the Internet, you’re getting a company in your neighborhood that will stand behind this transaction and all others we hope you perform with us.” We want people who will be our customers for life, and we can’t start the relationship by giving them a discount. Customers need to know where you stand and how you value your own business. That way, you get the respect you deserve up front, and your customers appreciate your intangibles ... and are willing to pay for them. 

6 Mobile Electronics December 2013

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