How much does it cost?
When many of us review a particular product offering, we often want to rush to the bottom line. If I'm looking at a product for personal use, and it costs 750 billion dollars, then there's no need for me to explore it further.
From the (non-commodity) vendor's perspective, this line of thinking is not good. A simple price check does not necessarily mean that the product will meet the buyer's needs. Let's say that I want to travel across the United States. An automobile may cost $20,000, while a bicycle may cost $200. Based upon a pure price comparison, I should get the bicycle...right?
Because of this, when a potential customer asks about the price, the vendor often replies, "Well, why don't we take a look at your needs, and then I can price the solution that is right for you?" Of course, the vendor will try to upsell as much as possible during this fact-finding process.
Now there are occasions when you run across something, and you think you're going to get a price...but your hopes are dashed.
I ran into an example recently. The name of the company isn't important, because other companies do this. I was reading a white paper for informational purposes - I have no plans to buy the product in question. But after reading the white paper, I was poking around the company's website, which includes the following menu items:
Notice anything about the menu?
Ah, yes, you are now being hypnotized. The Sauron-like glow of the red menu item is drawing you closer, closer, with its promise of PRICING. It's right there, just a menu click away!
You can guess what happened next. Yes, I clicked on the "Pricing" menu item, and this is what I got:
Curses! Hopes dashed again. Now I'd have to fill out a form and receive a call about a needs assessment.
(Of course, I may be asked about a needs assessment anyway. I had to provide my email address to get the original white paper. Which wasn't a paper at all, but a web page. But I digress.)
Not really bait and switch, but bait and wait.
Of course, the buyer could also impose his or her own waits on the purchase cycle.
You have the ability to slow down the negotiation at any point in time. When you do this, the other side will react. Their reaction will tell you a great deal about their situation. They may start to complain that the negotiation is now taking too long. If they do, then you now have an opportunity to renegotiate what they would like to trade speed for: more money, a better delivery schedule, etc.
So if I were truly interested in the product in question, I'd fill out the form...and then go on a month-long vacation.
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