I thought I was in Heaven when I found a $0.99 cents cleaners close to my house. I was excited when I got my bill for the first few weeks. However, is getting the cheapest dry-cleaning really the best value? I think this question is important for managed services providers to ask because it is the same value proposition they are faced with when they go on many of their sales with their IT marketing services. Their prospects are normally more focused on getting the lowest price and not getting the best overall value. Are their hidden cost that they should consider? What is their total cost of ownership? What is the total cost of doing business with the cheapest dry cleaners in Town? What is the total cost of doing business with the cheapest computer business in Town?
Well back to the story of my new Dry Cleaners that I had picked for just being the cheapest around. Things were going fine until one evening when I went to pick up my clothes and was shocked when they notified me that they didn’t have them. What, all my dress clothes were missing! Of course they made me think that they didn’t even have the clothes in the first place. After 1 week of frantically searching my house and luggage with now luck, I began demanding that the dry cleaners pay for new clothes… We haggled back and forth for another week and then just before I was going to contact an attorney I received a call from the cleaners notifying me they had ‘found’ my clothes. They had given my clothes to the wrong person who took two weeks to discover it and bring them back.
In the two week interim where the Dry Cleaners had lost all my dress clothes, I was forced to buy new dress clothes. For many of you this would have been enough to terminate the relationship with this cheap cleaners, but I still believed I was saving money and was willing to excuse the errors. Things were going great again and I thought I was racking up savings, until I got my clothes back one evening and noticed a cut on the front of my dress slacks. This happened to be my favorite pair of $200.00 dress slack that I had just bought a few weeks earlier… Once again I was blamed but eventually they did accept blame but tried to offer me a gift card in exchange for the pants. We haggled back and forth again and eventually they gave me $75 dollars for a $200 dollar pair of pants.
Now you might think this was the final straw that broke the camels back, but I happen to be a glutton for punishment and didn’t terminate this relationship until they had destroyed another pair of pants. In fact it was another scare that they had lost my clothes again that finally caused be to server ties with this low cost dry cleaners. Another issue that I realized was that many times I had to buy more clothes because when I needed my clothes the cleaners had been closed. I had really ended up with more clothes than I needed because of trying to save money on dry cleaning.
In the end I ended up looking for the most expensive dry cleaners that I could find… I still cringe when I look at my bill, but they never lose my clothes and in fact they use a higher quality process that allows me to get more life from my garments. In addition, they even offer 24hr service that allows me to drop off and pick up my clothes any time night or day. I never need to run out and buy an outfit because my cleaners is closed!
So what is the take away for computer consultants that are in the trenches facing prospects that are only looking at their hard cost and trying to get the cheapest technology solution? They are in the same mindset that I was when I made the poor decision to use the cheapest dry cleaners in town. They need to have a good salesman shake some sense into them and teach them how to look at their total cost and realize that the majority of the time, when you go with the cheapest, it ends up costing you more in the long run.
The million dollar question is how do you get a business owner or financial officer that’s focused on cheap to pay more for quality? The only way under heaven to do it is to ask your contact, you found through IT lead generation, directly if they are even willing to consider that going cheap might cost them more. If they are, then ask them if they are willing to go though your hidden cost calculator to see what hidden cost you might discover. If you’re a computer services firm trying to expand your marketing with technology sales leads then you have to be ready to ask hard hitting questions.
John Black is the Marketing Director at MSP Telemarketing and has over 10 years experience marketing for IT providers and var marketing to help them get more IT leads that turn into IT sales.