Influence people

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Should You Highlight Your Pricing?

In A letter to event technology companies trying to sell me stuff, event guru Adrian Segar challenges marketers to trumpet their prices.

"Bombarded with email from event technology companies," Segar begs vendors to "give me some idea upfront how much your products/services cost."

He bristles at firms that "have spared no expense creating great material designed to turn me into a customer," but don't disclose prices. 

"I'm sorry," Segar writes, "but I don't have time to enter into your next sales stepthe 'contact us to discuss your requirements' danceon the off chance that your actual pricing model represents real value for me."

Segar in effect warns vendors, iyou're coy about costs, you can forget any consideration from me. "I can handle talking about money upfront. And so can you," he scolds.

Segar's letter speaks volumes about customers' mindset.

The simple fact: customers have been traumatized by "frugalnomics."

In many of their organizations, frugality still trumps growth (and will continue to do so until consumer and corporate spending return to pre-recession levels).

Should you respond to frugalnomics by highlighting your prices?

The short answer is: no.

That would be like a doctor showing the trauma patient photos of the accident scene to comfort him.

Your job as a marketer is to help prospectswith the aid of case studies and testimonials by gratified users—envision better days ahead.

Discussions about pricing should begin only after prospects understand how your products or services can improve the way they do business.


  1. Bob, thanks for sharing points from my post, but I think your quotes give your readers a misleading view of what I said (I encourage them to read the whole post).

    In the post I ask vendors to "give me some idea" of their pricing and their pricing model. It's often impossible to tell whether a vendor is pitching a $299 unlimited-use product, a $5/seat license, a $500/seat license, a $10,000+ custom app, etc.

    Far from asking vendors to "trumpet their prices" I'm just asking for a scrap of information on the order of magnitude of cost that a relationship with them might entail. That's all.

    To expect me to have to contact vendors and go through a lengthy sales pitch in order to obtain the news that their product or service does not provide value commensurate with its cost ain't going to happen these days. Sorry, but I have better things to do with my time.

  2. Adrian, I appreciate your comment.

    The reason marketing and salespeople resist the urge to discuss pricing casually is simple: prospects are always making inaccurate price comparisons.

    It's common for them to decide, for example, that because one piece of software costs $5,000, all software should cost $5,000, even though different applications can deliver greatly different value.

    The frugality rampant in organizations today only worsens the situation, because it propels prospects to disregard anything but the lowest-cost solution to every problem.

  3. Bob, if the marketing information that a vendor supplies is good, it should convey the core of the value proposition for the client. A more expensive solution is fine with me if it includes important additional value. Yes, the universe of clients includes those who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. But it also includes many people like me who simply want to be given appropriate initial information about a product or service's value and cost.

    Treating clients in the way you describe implies that they are unintelligent people who will not appreciate the true value of what it is you have to offer until they have spent their time listening to you telling them everything you want to tell them first. I don't think that's a good way to treat most potential clients. It doesn't work for me, at any rate.

  4. Adrian, perhaps you are right. By the way, I reviewed the services page on your Website and see that doesn't provide any information about how much you charge for consulting. What am I missing?

  5. Bob, check out the comments on the post where I respond to this very point, as raised by my friend @tracibrowne.


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