October 18, 2011


extreme military cutbacksSaving money is worthwhile unless you hurt your results. Your clients often have other options. They could hire someone else, wait, or do it themselves.

Here are examples of scrimping that affect a reputation for quality:
  • a generic computer, netbook or tablet
  • a name brand computer (e.g., Lenovo) but a low end version (e.g., not ThinkPad)
  • a name brand but an outdated model (e.g., computer without built-in Wi-Fi antenna
  • out-of-date software (e.g., Office 2003)
Pirated software is a nonstarter too, even if no one would notice.

Scrimping Says

When you're scrimping, you're saying
  • cutting corners is acceptable: prospects may wonder about other shortcuts and whether they are saving from the shortcuts
  • you can't detect the difference (e.g., fresh orange juice vs. frozen) but you want prospects to see you as the “right” choice
  • you don't value the difference: a salesman replaced his Mercedes S-class with a Hyundai Genesis with better specifications

Show Your Ingredients

If you're using excellent ingredients, how would anyone know? For instance, you could be reading the latest books in your field and related fields.

I told a consultant to put brief summaries on her LinkedIn Reading List. She was afraid that her competitors would see. So what? Even if they read the same books, they would not apply the lessons in the same way (if at all). It's much better to focus on your helping your prospects choose you. They benefit from knowing what you're reading. They may even be willing to pay a premium for your current and extra knowledge.

Blogging shows your ingredients and how you combine them.

Same Ingredients

If you're using the same ingredients as your competitors (e.g., US FDA Blue #2), you might use them differently. Maybe you add a different amount or use a different method (e.g., frozen instead of liquid). Your process might differ (e.g., add 1/3 at three separate times). Maybe you include extra steps for quality assurance. Do your clients may care if you tell them and why your way matters.

Same Process

would you pay BMW $149 for snow tire balancing and installation?Even if your process is identical, your expertise may make the difference. For instance, installing winter tires is probably done the same way everywhere: remove summer tires, inflate and inspect winter tires, install winter tires. Prices vary from free to a "special offer" of $149 at BMW (including rebalancing).

I always go to the dealership, which costs more but gives peace of mind. BMW explained that when changing tires, they removed residue from the brake calipers using tools and techniques that other places wouldn't have. That seemed plausible and worth a premium. I didn't want to gamble with my tires or brakes — especially in the winter.

Your clients may not take the time to call you. Why not be proactive and tell them?

Same Price

Even if you sell at the same price as your competitors, spending more on quality in the right places will benefit your clients. Perhaps they get more reliability and less rework.

If you're taking shortcuts, your clients may notice. If you're over-delivering they may not. Either way, you're losing. What good is that?


PS What examples of scrimping and splurging have you seen?

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