Needless Markdown (Issue 903)

In which we are reminded that we (probably) don’t have to offer price discounts if our clients fully experience our value.

I’ve just come back from four days in New Orleans – a break following a busy winter and spring – to eat at four of New Orleans’ most celebrated restaurants, learn some French Quarter history, spend a day at the World War II museum, and get out to one of the former plantations.

I dedicated the first day to the World War II Museum. An extraordinary, clear telling of complex stories after which I felt strong gratitude and respect accompanied by deep sadness.

Looking for a brighter experience on the morning of the second day, I headed into the French Quarter to join a guided walking tour and confirm a plantation visit. I wandered into a tour company office and met extraordinarily friendly Dave.

Dave represents many tours and activities. He listened to my New Orleans objectives and offered (what proved to be) great advice about activities, when to do them, and how to get the most from them, for example, “when you get on the steam boat Natchez, grab a chair, second deck, bow, port side; you’ll see more and there will be more of a breeze.”

He pulled out a map and oriented me to the French Quarter, offering several ideas that he thought might fit with my plans. He drew big circles around the areas on which he recommended I focus.

When I’d reached my decisions, he said, “That’s great, you’ll enjoy all of that.” He turned to his computer screen and then said, “And, I’ll give you a good discount on the tickets.”

Wow…. While I appreciate saving a few dollars and while I didn’t say “no” to the discounts, I felt a little deflated.

I think Dave was clear that my objective was “create a special experience” and great memories rather than “find the lowest price.” He had raised my excitement and I was committed. Engaged. Eager to start. Delighted with his counsel and our conversation. Ready to pay. There was absolutely no reason he needed to offer a price discount at that point….

And he did….and his offer took some of the delight out of the moment (OK, maybe that’s strange)… and (more importantly) cost his company money they did NOT have to give up.

Nick Miller is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. He assists banks and credit unions to generate more and more profitable relationships, faster, with business clients, their owners, and their employees through better sales strategies and execution. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.

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